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Feverfew for preventing migraine

Overview of attention for article published in this source, April 2015
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Title
Feverfew for preventing migraine
Published by
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, April 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd002286.pub3
Pubmed ID
Authors

Wider, Barbara, Pittler, Max H, Ernst, Edzard, Barbara Wider, Max H Pittler, Edzard Ernst

Abstract

This review is an update of a previously published review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on 'Feverfew for preventing migraine' (2004, Issue 1). Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.) extract is a herbal remedy, which has been used for preventing attacks of migraine. To systematically review the evidence from double-blind randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the clinical efficacy and safety of feverfew monopreparations versus placebo for preventing migraine. For this updated version of the review we searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and AMED to January 2015. We contacted manufacturers of feverfew and checked the bibliographies of identified articles for further trials. We included randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials assessing the efficacy of feverfew monopreparations for preventing migraine in patients of any age. We included trials using clinical outcome measures, while we excluded trials focusing exclusively on physiological parameters. There were no restrictions regarding the language of publication. We systematically extracted data on patients, interventions, methods, outcome measures, results and adverse events. We assessed risk of bias using the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool and evaluated methodological quality using the Oxford Quality Scale developed by Jadad and colleagues. Two review authors (BW and MHP for this update, MHP and EE for the original version) independently selected studies, assessed methodological quality and extracted data. We resolved disagreements concerning evaluation of individual trials through discussion. We identified one new study for this update, resulting in six trials (561 patients) meeting the inclusion criteria. Five of the six trials reported on the main outcome, migraine frequency. Although five of the trials were generally of good methodological quality, all studies were either of unclear or high risk of bias with regards to sample size. Pooled analysis of the results was not possible due to the lack of common outcome measures and heterogeneity between studies in terms of participants, interventions and designs.The most recent trial added to this version of the review is rigorous and larger (n = 218), using a stable feverfew extract at a dose determined by a previous dose-finding trial. It reports that feverfew reduced migraine frequency by 1.9 attacks from 4.8 to 2.9 and placebo by 1.3 from to 4.8 to 3.5 per month, resulting in a difference in effect between feverfew and placebo of 0.6 attacks per month. For the secondary outcome measures intensity and duration of migraine attacks, incidence and severity of nausea and vomiting, and global assessment no statistically significant differences were reported. Results of previous trials are not convincing: three trials reporting positive effects of feverfew are all of small sample size (17 to 60 participants), while two rigorous trials (n = 50, 147) did not find significant differences between feverfew and placebo. Only mild and transient adverse events, most commonly gastrointestinal complaints and mouth ulcers, were reported in the included trials. Since the last version of this review, one larger rigorous study has been included, reporting a difference in effect between feverfew and placebo of 0.6 attacks per month. This adds some positive evidence to the mixed and inconclusive findings of the previous review. However, this constitutes low quality evidence, which needs to be confirmed in larger rigorous trials with stable feverfew extracts and clearly defined migraine populations before firm conclusions can be drawn. It appears from the data reviewed that feverfew is not associated with any major safety concerns.

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Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 2 3%
United Kingdom 1 1%
Australia 1 1%
Unknown 75 95%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 14 18%
Student > Master 13 16%
Unspecified 11 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 10 13%
Student > Doctoral Student 9 11%
Other 22 28%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 30 38%
Unspecified 13 16%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 8 10%
Nursing and Health Professions 7 9%
Social Sciences 6 8%
Other 15 19%