While migraine headaches are common in teen-agers, they are substantially under-treated, concludes a study of nearly 19,000 12-to-19-year-olds.
The study found that over a one-year period, 5 percent of boys and close to 8 percent of girls had frequent migraines.
“Migraine in children has rarely been studied, and the findings revealed that boys are nearly as likely as girls to experience migraines. Previous studies in adults have shown that females were generally much more susceptible,” study author Paul Winner said in a prepared statement.
About 60 percent of the teens who suffered migraines used only over-the-counter drugs to treat their symptoms; 17 percent used prescription medications; and 22 percent used both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Of the 31 percent of teens who met the criteria for preventative treatment of migraines, only 19 percent received it. Of those who never used preventative medicine, 24 percent were eligible for such treatment, the study said.
The findings will be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study was supported by the U.S. National Headache Foundation through a grant from drug maker Ortho-McNeil Neurologics Inc.