Skip to content


The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

The Journal of Headache and Pain Cover Image

Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

Open Access

P026. Pilot study on the use of coenzyme Q10 in a group of patients with episodic migraine without aura

  • Giorgio Dalla Volta1Email author,
  • Daniela Carli1,
  • Paola Zavarise1,
  • Gaelle Ngonga1 and
  • Stefano Vollaro1
The Journal of Headache and Pain201516(Suppl 1):A186

Published: 28 September 2015


MigraineOxidative PhosphorylationMigraine HeadacheTrigger FactorHeadache Frequency


Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance and essential element of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. There has been a recent interest in the role that mitochondria may play in migraine pathogenesis. If indeed migraine results from mitochondrial dysfunction, then coenzyme Q10 could be used as a successful migraine preventive therapy. Abnormal mitochondrial function translates into high intracellular penetration of Ca(2+), excessive production of free radicals, and deficient oxidative phosphorylation, which ultimately causes energy failure in neurons and astrocytes, thus triggering migraine mechanisms. The objective of this investigation was to confirm the efficacy of coenzyme Q10 as a preventive treatment for migraine headaches.

Materials and methods

We selected from the Headache Center of the “Istituto Clinico Città di Brescia” a population of 40 patients aged between 18 and 65 years, suffering from migraine without aura with a headache frequency between 3 to 6 crises/month (4 to 12 days with headache/month), not assuming other migraine preventive therapy. They were randomly assigned to treatment with coenzyme Q10 300 mg (20 patients) or 600 mg (20 patients) once a day for 3 months. Patients were evaluated for frequency, duration, intensity of pain, response to trigger factors and response to their habitual analgesic drug (data obtained from the diary of headache delivered at first visit). The improvement of the thermographic pattern was also evaluated.


A reduction in frequency and intensity of more than 50% in 25 patients, 10 patients reported reduction of more than 50% in the intensity but not in frequency (<50%), 5 patients had no improvement of symptoms. In all patients the complexity of the accompanying symptoms were less severe and they noted a reduction of the response to trigger factors.

Discussion and conclusions

Coenzyme Q10 is an essential element of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and has been shown to improve mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in humans. Coenzyme Q10, which can be administered orally with an excellent side-effect profile, appears to be a good migraine preventive.

Written informed consent to publication was obtained from the patient(s).

Authors’ Affiliations

Brescia Headache Centre, Istituto Clinico Città di Brescia, Brescia, Italy


© Volta et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.