New Study Finds Sugar Pill as Effective as Anti-Migraine Drugs in Kids

CBS News reported on a New England Journal of Medicine study  that tested the efficacy of two migraine drugs in reducing the number of days the children in the study group had migraines. The drugs tested were topiramate, an anti-seizure drug and amitriptyline, an antidepressant. Doctors were surprised to learn that while both drugs performed well, so did the placebo sugar pill.


The results “really challenge what is typical practice today by headache specialists,” said study author Scott Powers, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s headache center.


The study was released online Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development paid for the research.


“The fact that it shows that two of the most commonly used medications are no more effective than a placebo and have adverse effects makes a very clear statement,” said Dr. Leon Epstein, neurology chief at Ann & Robert Lurie H. Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Epstein said it should lead neurologists to rely on other prevention strategies; he advises lifestyle changes including getting more sleep and reducing stress, which he said can help prevent migraines in teen patients.


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