The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug for migraines in teenagers. The FDA approved – combination of sumatriptan and naproxen sodium – to treat patients 12-to-17 years old. It was approved for adults in 2008.
Teens suffer from migraines. Estimates vary but as many as 20% of teenagers are suspected to have them. They tend to be underdiagnosed and thus undertreated, according to experts.
“Until now, pediatric migraine sufferers have not had the same number of treatment options compared to adults to manage the potentially debilitating effects of acute migraine,” said Merle Lea Diamond, M.D., president and managing director of the Diamond Headache Clinic and consultant to Pernix Therapeutics which markets the drug.
Sumatriptan is a headache medicine that is believed to work by narrowing the blood vessels around the brain. Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) that works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body.
The Migraine Research Foundation has some interesting data about children who suffer from migraines.
Half of all migraine sufferers have their first attack before the age of 12. Even infants can have migraines. Migraine has been reported in children as young as 18 months.
- Before puberty, boys suffer from migraine more often than girls. The mean age of onset for boys is 7, and for girls it is 11. As adolescence approaches, the incidence increases more rapidly in girls than in boys. This may be explained by changing estrogen levels.
- By the time they turn 17, as many as 8 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls have experienced a migraine.
- The prognosis for children with migraine is variable. However, 60% of sufferers who had adolescent-onset migraine report ongoing migraines after age 30. The prognosis for boys tends to be better than for girls.
If you suffer from migraines or know someone who does, you know that migraines can be triggered by any number of things.
The Migraine Trust website outlines the common triggers for teenagers, and they mirror what often happens to adults. One interesting possible trigger is the flicker from a computer screen – interesting because of the amount of time young people spend in front of one.
Like adults, children may also experience sensitivity to light and noise, dizziness, a lack of energy and disturbed vision.
“Migraine attacks in children may manifest as gastrointestinal symptoms to a greater degree than headache,” said Dr. Andrew Charles who directs migraine and headache studies at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. He made the comments in a story we ran children and migraines on March 19th.