Prescribed Medicines Are No Better Than Sugar Pills For Young Migraine Sufferers, Study Finds

Posted: Oct 30 2016, 1:11pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 30 2016, 1:16pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Prescribed Medicines are No More Effective than Sugar Pills for Young Migraine Sufferers, Study Finds
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No significant difference between the standard migraine drugs and a placebo sugar pill was noticed in preventing migraine headaches in kids and teens

Standard migraine medicines are no more effective than placebo when it comes to preventing headaches in children and teens. That’s according to a new research.

In the latest study, researchers have attempted to assess the effectiveness of commonly used medications for migraine on young sufferers. It turned out that there was no significant difference between the standard drugs amitriptyline, topiramate or placebo (sugar pill) in reducing the number of days of migraine headaches on both kids and teens.

“The study was intended to demonstrate which of the commonly used preventive medications in migraine was the most effective.  What we found is that we could prevent these headaches with either a medication or a placebo,” said co-author Andrew Hershey from Cincinnati Children's Headache Center. 

“This study suggests that a multi-disciplinary approach and the expectation of response is the most important, not necessarily the prescription provided.”

For the study, researchers enrolled more than 300 migraine sufferers age 8 to 17. Then, they randomly gave amitriptyline, topiramate or placebo to the participants for a 24-week trial period.

Researchers found that 52 percent of those taking amitriptyline and 55 percent of those taking topiramate experienced a 50 percent or more reduction in the numbers of their headache days. More significantly, 61 percent of those taking a placebo also experienced the same benefits.

Participants taking the prescribed drugs also had much higher rate of side effects such as fatigue, dry mouth and mood changes compared to those taking placebo. The findings raise questions about the effectiveness of commonly prescribed drugs in preventing chronic migraine in youngsters.  

“The findings were kind of upside down; it was 61% of placebo and around 50% to 55% on the drugs who got better. It wasn't statistically different, but it was in the opposite numerical direction than what you would have predicted.” Lead author Scott Powers, a pediatric psychologist at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio.

Migraine is a common childhood disorder. An estimated 8 to 23 percent of all children experience migraine headaches. The condition is sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramping. The findings of the study are unexpected but they can help health-care providers to choose the best approach for treating chronic migraine in children. 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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