Information for the public

Summary of possible benefits and harms

How well does flunarizine work?

Four studies looked at how well flunarizine worked in adults at reducing the number of migraines they had. None of the studies took place in the UK.

Three of the studies compared flunarizine with a drug called propranolol, and 1 compared flunarizine with a drug called topiramate. Overall the studies suggest that, in adults, flunarizine works as well as propranolol and topiramate at reducing the number of migraines people have.

Six small studies looked at flunarizine for preventing migraine in children and young people. Two of these studies compared flunarizine with a 'dummy tablet' (which is a tablet that doesn't contain any medicine – this is also known as a placebo), and 4 studies compared it with other medicines for preventing migraines. Overall the studies suggest that flunarizine reduces the number of migraines children and young people have compared with the 'dummy tablet' and that it works as well as the other treatments it was compared with. However, because of the small size and the design of the studies they do not provide good evidence on how well flunarizine works in children and young people.

What are the possible harms or side effects?

Flunarizine should not be taken by people with depression or by people with Parkinson's disease or movement disorders. Weight gain is a very common side effect with flunarizine, which can affect about 10 in every 100 people taking it. Other possible side effects include a blocked or runny nose, increased appetite, depression, not being able to sleep or sleeping too much, constipation, stomach discomfort, feeling sick, muscle pain, menstruation problems, breast pain or tiredness. These side effects can affect between about 1 to 10 of every 100 people taking flunarizine.

Please note that the results of the research studies only indicate the benefits and harms for the population in the studies. It is not possible to predict what the benefits and harms will be for an individual patient being treated with flunarizine.