Butterbur root extract and music therapy in the prevention of childhood migraine: an explorative study

Eur J Pain. 2008 Apr;12(3):301-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2007.06.003. Epub 2007 Jul 30.


Background: Migraine is very common in school-aged children, but despite a number of pharmacological and non-pharmacological options for prophylaxis, randomized controlled evidence in children is small. Evidence-based prophylactic drugs may have considerable side effects.

Objective: This study was to assess efficacy of a butterbur root extract (Petadolex) and music therapy in primary school children with migraine.

Design: Prospective, randomized, partly double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial.

Methods: Following a 8-week baseline patients were randomized and received either butterbur root extract (n=19), music therapy (n=20) or placebo (n=19) over 12 weeks. All participants received additionally headache education ("treatment as usual") from the baseline onwards. Reduction of headache frequency after treatment (8-week post-treatment) as well as 6 months later (8-week follow-up) was the efficacy variable.

Results: Data analysis of subjects completing the respective study phase showed that during post-treatment, only music therapy was superior to placebo (p=0.005), whereas in the follow-up period both music therapy and butterbur root extract were superior to placebo (p=0.018 and p=0.044, respectively). All groups showed a substantial reduction of attack frequency already during baseline.

Conclusion: Butterbur root extract and music therapy might be superior to placebo and may represent promising treatment approaches in the prophylaxis of paediatric migraine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Family
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology
  • Music Therapy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Petasites*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Prospective Studies
  • Relaxation Therapy


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Plant Extracts