, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 235-246
Date: 11 Apr 2013

Pharmacological Treatment of Acute Migraine in Adolescents and Children

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Migraine is a common disease in children and adolescents. The incidence of migraine has increased alarmingly in the general population during recent decades. Migraine causes considerable individual suffering and impaired quality of life. Therefore, appropriate management is essential. In this article, the treatment of acute migraine in children and adolescents will be reviewed. Only a few randomized controlled studies have been published and high placebo rates are a major problem for proving superiority of active drugs. Generally, acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen are accepted as drugs of first choice, even though the evidence is poor for the former and limited for latter. Among 14 studies on triptans in adolescents, 9 showed some superiority over placebo with respect to pain relief and pain freedom, and among 6 studies in children, 5 suggest some superiority over placebo. Sumatriptan nasal spray and zolmitriptan nasal spray have been approved for adolescents in Europe; almotriptan has been approved for adolescents in the USA, as has rizatriptan for patients aged 6–17 years. A recent study demonstrated the efficacy of a fixed combination of sumatriptan and naproxen in adolescents with migraine. In conclusion, evidence for the pharmacological treatment of acute migraine in children is very poor and evidence for adolescents is better but still limited.