For the first time ever, the FDA has approved a migraine prevention drug for teens. The drug topiramate has long been used for migraine prevention in adults, and has been shown to be safe and effective for teens. Although this can have the positive effect of reducing the number of opiates given to teens for headaches, like all drugs it is not without side effects and risks of its own.
How Effective Is Topiramate for Migraines?
In the clinical trial for effectiveness, 103 teens were enrolled and randomly assigned to treatment or placebo groups. In the treatment group, 72% saw their migraines decrease in frequency, compared to only 44% in the control group. There were no reports about how much frequency decreased and no statement that severity of migraines decreased.
How Safe Is Topiramate for Migraines?
Topiramate has long been used as an antiepileptic for teens, so we have a good record of its use. It seems to be relatively safe, but it does have some minor side effects and a couple of serious concerns.
Adverse reactions observed during the trial included:
- Tingling in the skin
- Upper respiratory infection
- Abdominal pain
These are consistent with other trials of topiramate.
Topiramate has also been associated with an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, which is of special concern among teens. Teens will need to be monitored carefully for depression and mood or behavior changes. In addition, topiramate comes with significant risk of birth defects, so women who may become pregnant should use birth control when taking topiramate.
Drug-Free Migraine Treatment
It’s also worth noting that many people develop TMJ during their teenage years, which may be responsible for migraines.
If you would like to have your teen evaluated for TMJ to determine whether drug-free TMJ treatment might help, please call (303) 691-0267 to schedule an appointment at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver.