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Drug Curing Migraine in Children not Scientifically Proven

Update Date: Jan 29, 2013 05:42 AM EST

The medication given to children and teenagers to alleviate the pain of migraine may not be so effective after all, a recent study on pediatric migraine medicine suggests.

The study, conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Jackson, a professor of medicine and his colleagues, finds its source in a pediatric migraine-treatment investigation study taken up 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 research result was published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

During the research, Dr. Jackson and his colleagues consulted the data from 21 previous studies up to mid-2012 which were made on both male and female patients of age 18 years and below. Out of the 21 studies consulted, 20 of them were to track migraines which occurred less than 15 times a month, otherwise known as "episodic migraines". Only one study centered on migraines which were more than 15 times a month or "chronic headaches".

All the 21 studies aimed at comparing the effect of a placebo or a dummy pill to that of the standard migraine medicines available in the market. The most common treatments of migraines are medicines that are antiepileptic, antidepressants, antihistamines, calcium-channel blockers, blood pressure control, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

It was observed that out of all the medications suggested by the doctors to cure migraine, topiramate (antiepileptic) and trazodone (antidepressant) are the only two drugs which had a better effect than the placebo, which, in this case was a sugar pill. Surprisingly, the placebos which are inactive in nature, proved to be more effective in controlling the migraine, reducing it to three or maximum six a month.

"It's very discouraging, I was rather shocked to see, quite frankly, how few studies were done among children with headaches, and that the handful of studies we have suggest that the benefits of these drugs, if any, aren't really big. These medicines are kind of nasty. Some cause dry mouth, or fatigue, or problems with concentrating. They're not really medicines you would want your vibrant teen to be on if they're not working," Dr. Jackson was quoted as saying in Medicalxpress.

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