Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Off-label Use Of Migraine Drug Gives Children Relief, Study Says

Date:
March 10, 2004
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
A new study suggests that when over-the-counter medications fail to help children who suffer from chronic migraine headaches, those children may find relief with a drug traditionally prescribed to adults.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study suggests that when over-the-counter medications fail to help children who suffer from chronic migraine headaches, those children may find relief with a drug traditionally prescribed to adults.

Related Articles


Around one out of every 10 children experience chronic migraines, said Ann Pakalnis, a study co-author and a clinical associate professor of pediatrics and neurology at Ohio State University and Columbus Children's Hospital.

She and her colleagues treated 57 children with sumatriptan (Imitrex) nasal spray. More than three-quarters of the families in the study reported good to excellent relief of their child's headaches after using the spray, and nearly 100 percent of the children in these families continued using the drug.

But sumatriptan isn't approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in children. The participants in this study were prescribed sumatriptan on an off-label basis, a common practice in which a medication is used to treat a group of people or a problem it wasn't originally intended to treat.

"By the time children see us at the headache clinic, they've already tried over-the-counter medications or milder prescription drugs," said Pakalnis. "Their parents want a more aggressive treatment. They understand that it's probably the best thing to do for their child, even if means an off-label use."

The findings appear in a recent issue of the Journal of Child Neurology. Pakalnis conducted the study with Donna Kring, a nurse at Columbus Children's Hospital, and Juliann Paolicchi, a pediatrician at the hospital.

The researchers took a retrospective approach to appraising sumatriptan's effectiveness in children. They reviewed the medical charts of children 5 to 12 years old who were patients at Columbus Children's Hospital, tallying the number of children prescribed the nasal spray. Each child's family then received a questionnaire asking about the child's use of the spray, its effectiveness and any concerns regarding the off-label use of the drug.

The majority (77 percent) of the 57 families who responded to the questionnaire reported that sumatriptan nasal spray had significantly helped their child, and 93 percent of these families noted that their child still used the drug.

Thirteen patients (23 percent) reported side effects from using the spray. Each of these children said the spray tasted bad, and five in this group stopped using it altogether. Sumatriptan nasal spray tastes very bitter and metallic to some children, Pakalnis said. Four of the 13 patients complained of dizziness. Two children found the spray difficult to use, and stopped using it.

"A nasal spray is the preferred way to deliver sumatriptan to children as their migraines tend to be very short, and the spray starts working in about 15 minutes," Pakalnis said. "Some kids have a lot of nausea and vomiting with their headaches, which rules out giving them a tablet. Injection is another choice, but not a great option for children."

Migraine triggers such as dehydration, fatigue and hormonal changes cause changes in nerve impulses that in turn affect blood vessel diameter and biochemical release. Blood vessel dilation causes pain, which analgesics can help alleviate. But analgesics don't address the symptoms that often accompany migraines, such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound, which are usually caused by blood vessel constriction.

Sumatriptan and related drugs stop pain by restoring the nervous system's ability to block pain impulses and help constrict blood vessels. And the triptans also help dilate the constricted vessels that contribute to they symptoms that accompany migraine attacks.

About 30 percent of the patients coming to Pakalnis' office seek help for migraines. She and her colleagues currently prescribe sumatriptan nasal spray to about three-quarters of these patients.

"It's an effective and safe treatment for children who don't respond to over-the-counter pain killers," she said.

The study was supported in part by Glaxo Smith Kline, makers of sumatriptan nasal spray.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Off-label Use Of Migraine Drug Gives Children Relief, Study Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040309072048.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2004, March 10). Off-label Use Of Migraine Drug Gives Children Relief, Study Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040309072048.htm
Ohio State University. "Off-label Use Of Migraine Drug Gives Children Relief, Study Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040309072048.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Just A Half-Hour Of Lost Sleep Could Lead To Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) A new study found losing just half an hour of sleep could make you gain weight. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) According to a report from the CDC, suicide rates among young women increased from 1994 to 2012 while rates among young men have decreased. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) Liberia&apos;s last Ebola patient has been released, and the country hasn&apos;t recorded a new case in a week. However, fears of another outbreak still exist. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins