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Why isn't there more research on headache medicine for children?

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
Unlike adult headaches, the number of drugs that have been specifically tested for treating headaches in children is more limited.

Research studies on migraine -- as for most conditions -- typically exclude children and adolescents for two reasons. First, doctors generally like to see that a medication has a long track record of safety in adults before using it on a child. Second, research studies usually divide patients into a group that's treated with the drug being tested and a group that's being treated with a sugar pill or placebo. After the drug is tested, researchers look to see if people did better when they were taking the actual drug compared with the placebo. In general, about one in every three adults will get migraine relief from a placebo. Children and adolescents are much stronger placebo responders, so about half of youngsters will get migraine relief from a placebo. Because children can respond well to a placebo during research studies, it's much harder to show that the actual drug is better than a placebo. This may be related to the much shorter duration of headaches typically seen in children.
The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

Migraines are a common, controllable type of headache that affects one in every six women, more than 20 million in the United States alone. The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit helps readers take charge of...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.