Topamax and Amitriptyline Did Not Work for Pediatric Migraines

A recent study (SW Powers et al. NEJM 2016; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1610384) showed that neither topamax nor amitriptyline were more effective than placebo.

Excerpt of summary from NY Times: Two Drugs for Adult Migraines May Not Help Children

Neither of the two drugs used most frequently to prevent migraines in children is more effective than a sugar pill, according to a study published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers stopped the large trial early, saying the evidence was clear even though the drugs — the antidepressant amitriptyline and the epilepsy drug topiramate — had been shown to prevent migraines in adults…

At 31 sites nationwide, 328 migraine sufferers aged 8 to 17 were randomly assigned to take amitriptyline, topiramate or a placebo pill for 24 weeks. Patients with episodic migraines (fewer than 15 headache days a month) and chronic migraines (15 or more headache days a month) were included…

As it turned out, there was no significant difference among the groups: 61 percent of the placebo group reduced their headache days by 50 percent or more, compared with 52 percent of the children given amitriptyline and 55 percent of those who took topiramate. And there was no significant difference among the three groups in reducing the school days or other activities missed…

One child on topiramate attempted suicide. Three taking amitriptyline had mood changes; one told his mother he wanted to hurt himself, while another wrote suicide notes at school and was hospitalized.

My take: Given the overlapping features between migraines and abdominal pain, how (in)effective are these types of medications for abdominal pain?  Also, does someone know where I can buy stock in whoever makes placebo -it performed pretty well.

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Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.


1 thought on “Topamax and Amitriptyline Did Not Work for Pediatric Migraines

  1. Pingback: Quick Take on Migraine Study | gutsandgrowth

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