Migraine and epilepsy in the pediatric population

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2014 Mar;18(3):402. doi: 10.1007/s11916-013-0402-3.


Individually, childhood epilepsy and migraine are two of the most common conditions seen in pediatric neurology. What complicates matters is that there can be marked similarities between migraine and epilepsy as well as a variety of underlying conditions that predispose children to both seizures and headache. Thus, separating epilepsy from migraine may not be easy, but can be done with a detailed history as well as timely use of ancillary testing. Once children have been diagnosed with epilepsy, migraine, or both, treatment options become essential in attempts to manage these common, yet often disabling, neurological conditions. Acute interventions tend to be condition specific while preventative options may overlap for migraine and epilepsy. In the following review, we will discuss the epidemiology of childhood epilepsy and headache, the association between them, as well as how to differentiate epilepsy from migraine. Treatment strategies will follow before concluding with a discussion on prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diet, Ketogenic / methods*
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / therapy
  • Female
  • GABA Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / methods
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • GABA Agents
  • Valproic Acid