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Centre for Evidence-
Based Medicine

Migraine - Riboflavin is effective prophylaxis

Clinical Bottom Line

Treating two patients with migraine with 400mg riboflavin per day will resul in one of them having a 50% reduction in migraine frequency, though with no effect on severity.


Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomised controlled trial. Neurology. 1998; 50: 466-70.

Clinical Question

Is riboflavin effective in preventing migraine?

Search Terms

migraine AND riboflavin

The Study

  • Double-blinded concealed randomised controlled trial with intention-to-treat.
  • The Study Patients: recurrent migraines
  • Control group (N = 27; 27 analysed): placebo
  • Experimental group (N = 28; 28 analysed): riboflavin 400mg daily

The Evidence

Outcome Time to Outcome CER EER RRR ARR NNT
Non-responder (<50% reduction) 0.85 0.41 52% 0.440 2
95% Confidence Intervals 25% to 78% 0.213 to 0.667 2 to 5


We have two caveats:

  1. This is the only study, and has modest numbers (55).
  2. The effect appeared to take 2-3 months to build up; patients need to be warned it will not necessarily work immediately.

Appraised By

Paul Glasziou, Social & Preventive Medicine, Herston Rd, Herston QLD 4006 AUSTRALIA
Thursday, January 21, 1999
Email: P.Glasziou@spmed.uq.edu.au

Expiry Date

Kill or Update By: 1/12/2000 (check for new trials)