MONDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Children and teens who get migraine headaches suffer in multiple ways, missing school and fun time with friends while waiting for the debilitating pain to subside.
Now, two new broad reviews of pediatric migraine research point to a troubling conclusion: There is no clear evidence that drugs currently used to treat and prevent headaches among adults do anything much to help similarly afflicted children.
The finding stems from a pediatric migraine-treatment investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a pediatric migraine-prevention study out of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The results of both analyses are published online Jan. 28 in JAMA Pediatrics.
On the migraine prevention front, Wisconsin's Dr. Jeffrey Jackson, a professor of medicine, and colleagues reviewed 21 previously conducted studies (dating up to mid-2012) that included male and female patients up to age 18.
Twenty of the studies had focused on "episodic migraine," which is when migraine occurs fewer than 15 times a month. Just one study involved "chronic headaches," occurring 15 or more times a month.
All of the studies had either compared two or more migraine medications or a single drug's effectiveness in reducing headache frequency and severity against that of a dummy pill (placebo). The treatments included antiepileptic medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, calcium channel blockers, blood pressure control meds, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
The review revealed that to a large degree inactive placebos, not prescription drugs, were widely effective in controlling headaches, reducing occurrence on average to fewer than three a month from upwards of nearly six a month.
The analysis suggested that only one antiepileptic drug (topiramate) and one antidepressant (trazodone) proved to b
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