Hershey AD, Winner PK. Pediatric Migraine: Recognition and Treatment. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2005;105(4_suppl):2S–8S. doi: .
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The diagnosis of migraine headache in childhood rests on criteria similar to those used in migraine in adults. It is important, however, to appreciate several fundamental differences. These differences include the duration of attack, which is often far shorter than in an adult, and the location of the attack, which may be bilateral in many children.
The treatment of children and adolescents with migraines includes treatment modalities for acute attacks, preventive medications when the attacks are frequent, and biobehavioral modes of therapy to address long-term management of the disorder. The controlled clinical trials of medications in pediatric migraine have suffered from high placebo response rates that may be related to the sites conducting the study (ie, headache specialist vs clinical research organizations). The medications have proved to be safe in the pediatric age group.
Treatment modalities for acute migraine include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as the oral triptans such as sumatriptan succinate, rizatriptan benzoate, and zolmitriptan and the nasal spray formulations of sumatriptan and zolmitriptan. Subcutaneous sumatriptan and parenteral dihydroergotamine have also been used limitedly.
Preventive treatment for patients with frequent or disabling migraines (or both) includes the antidepressants amitriptyline hydrochloride and nortriptyline hydrochloride, the anticonvulsants divalproex sodium and topiramate, and the antihistaminic agent cyprohepatine hydrochloride. Biobehavioral approaches aimed at addressing the fundamental lifestyle issues and nonpharmacologic approaches to management are fundamental to long-term success.
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