Migraine in children: presentation, disability and response to treatment

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2018 Dec;30(6):775-779. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000694.


Purpose of review: The current review presents findings from investigations of migraine in children. The presentation of pediatric migraine, related consequences, and medication treatments are reviewed.

Recent findings: A number of advancements have been made in the study of the presentation, disability, and treatments for migraine in children. However, recent research suggests that not all approaches are equally effective in the treatment of migraine in children. Specifically, a recent study comparing pharmacological interventions found that preventive medications were not statistically more effective than placebo in children. Consistent findings showing clinically meaningful placebo response rates, shorter duration of headaches and other characteristic features (e.g. frontal, bilateral location) have been barriers to the design of randomized clinical trials in children and adolescents with migraine. Better understanding of treatment mechanisms for medication interventions is needed.

Summary: Several migraine treatments have determined to be effective for use in children but few controlled studies have evaluated the effectiveness of medication treatments. Recent research suggests that preventive medications may not be more effective than placebo. Additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of medication treatment in migraine headache care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control
  • Pediatrics
  • Serotonin 5-HT1 Receptor Agonists / adverse effects
  • Serotonin 5-HT1 Receptor Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vomiting / physiopathology


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Serotonin 5-HT1 Receptor Agonists