Migraine prevention in children and adolescents: results of an open study with a special butterbur root extract

Headache. 2005 Mar;45(3):196-203. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2005.05044.x.


Objective: To explore the role of a special butterbur root extract for migraine prevention in children and adolescents with severe migraines.

Background: Two randomized and placebo-controlled trials with a total of 289 migraine patients have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of a special butterbur root extract in the reduction of migraine attacks in adults. We studied whether butterbur had the potential as an efficient and well-tolerated migraine preventive in children and adolescents.

Design/methods: 108 children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17 were included in a multicenter prospective open-label study. Participants suffered from migraines diagnosed according to IHS classifications for at least 1 year. Patients were treated with 50 to 150 mg of the butterbur root extract depending on age for a period of 4 months. Treatment progression was recorded in migraine journals especially designed for children and adolescents.

Results: 77% of all patients reported a reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks of at least 50%. Attack frequency was reduced by 63%. 91% of patients felt substantially or at least slightly improved after 4 months of treatment. About 90% of each, doctors and patients, reported well-being or even improved well-being. Undesired effects (7.4%) included mostly eructation. No serious adverse events occurred and no adverse event caused a premature termination.

Conclusions: The results and low rate of adverse events in this open prospective migraine prevention study in children and adolescents are similar to the results of two multicenter placebo-controlled butterbur studies in adults. Butterbur root extract shows a potential as an effective and well-tolerated migraine prophylaxis also for children and teenagers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Capsules
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Petasites*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Roots
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Capsules
  • Plant Extracts