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Ann Pharmacother. 2007 Jul;41(7):1181-90. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Pediatric migraine: pharmacologic agents for prophylaxis.

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  • 1Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, Huntsville, AL, USA.



To identify and evaluate the data regarding medication use for migraine prophylaxis in the pediatric population.


Literature was obtained through searches in PubMed (Mid 1950s-March 2007), Iowa Drug Information Service/Web (1966-February 2007), International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (1970-February 2007), and the Cochrane Library. The terms migraine, prophylaxis, child, and children were used and cross referenced with all drug names. Reference citations from publications identified were also reviewed and included.


Only trials that evaluated migraine headaches in the pediatric population were included. Trials including adolescent and adult populations are briefly listed, but not reviewed. Trials involving non-prescription medication were also included in the evaluation. Due to the limited information, all clinical trials, retrospective reviews, and abstracts evaluated were included in this review.


Few controlled clinical trials regarding prophylaxis therapy are available. Currently, no medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for prophylaxis of migraines in children. Seventeen drugs were identified and included in the review. Of the drugs with available data, topiramate, valproic acid, flunarizine, amitriptyline, and cyproheptadine have shown efficacy in decreasing migraine frequency and duration in children. However, larger clinical trials are necessary to validate the utility of these agents. Conflicting data exist for propranolol and pizotifen, and additional data are needed for gabapentin, levetiracetam, zonisamide, naproxen, and trazodone. In clinical trials, nimodipine, clonidine, and natural supplements have shown a lack of efficacy versus placebo for prophylaxis of migraines in children.


Topiramate, valproic acid, and amitriptyline have the most data on their use for prophylaxis of migraines in children. Numerous agents have limited data in this population and several agents lack efficacy. Prospective, well designed, controlled clinical trials that include quality-of-life and functional outcomes are needed for guiding therapy of migraine prophylaxis for children.

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