Background: High-altitude headache (HAH) is a hypobaric hypoxia-induced symptom that is commonly experienced by newcomers to high-altitude areas.
Objective: To assess the efficacy of gabapentin in the prevention of HAH.
Methods: A placebo-controlled randomised trial was performed at an altitude of 3500 m. Two hundred and four unacclimatised 15–65-year-old (mean age (±SD), 31.5 (SD 11.7)) hotel guests were randomly assigned to a 600 mg single-dose of gabapentin capsule or identical placebo. HAH incidence and intensity were measured to assess gabapentin efficacy. Intention-to-treat analysis was performed.
Results: HAH incidence was not significantly different between subjects under gabapentin (44 (43.1%)) compared with placebo (56 (54.9%); p = 0.09). In contrast, moderate/severe HAH had a lower incidence in the gabapentin group (27 (26.5%)) versus the placebo group (42 (41.2%)), showing that gabapentin reduced HAH attack intensity (p = 0.03).
Conclusions: Gabapentin was effective for the prevention of HAH and had satisfactory tolerability.
Trial registration number: ISRCTN26123577.
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Funding: Funding was provided by the Iranian Center for Neurology Research, Imam Hospital, Medical Sciences/University of Tehran.
Competing interests: None declared.