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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2018 May;32(3):247-255. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12461. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Prenatal triptan exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes in 5-year-old children: Follow-up from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.

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Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety Research Group, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Mental Disorders, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Child Health and Development, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.



Triptans are commonly used to treat migraine headaches, but data on the long-term safety of these medications during pregnancy are sparse. Triptans have a biologically plausible mechanism for effects on the fetal brain through binding to 5-HT1 -receptors, and previous studies show increased risks of externalising behaviour problems in toddlers exposed to triptans during pregnancy.


We included 3784 children in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, whose mothers returned the 5-year-questionnaire and reported a history of migraine or triptan use; 353 (9.3%) mothers reported use of triptans during pregnancy, 1509 (39.9%) reported migraine during pregnancy but no triptan use, and 1922 (50.8%) had migraine prior to pregnancy only. We used linear and log-binomial models with inverse probability weights to examine the association between prenatal triptan exposure and internalising and externalising behaviour, communication, and temperament in 5-year-old children.


Triptan-exposed children scored higher on the sociability trait than unexposed children of mothers with migraine (β 1.66, 95% confidence interval [0.30, 3.02]). We found no other differences in temperament, or increased risk of behaviour or communication problems.


Contrary to results from previous studies in younger children, we found no increased risk of externalising behaviour problems in 5-year-old children exposed to triptans in fetal life. Triptan-exposed children did have slightly more sociable temperaments, but the clinical meaning of this finding is uncertain.


MoBa; behaviour; child; neurodevelopment; pregnancy; triptans

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