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Riboflavin may help reduce frequency of paediatric migraine

Elaine Soliven
20 Jul 2020

Treatment with riboflavin significantly reduced monthly headache days in children and adolescents with migraine, according to a study presented at AHS 2020.

“Migraine is a common and potentially disabling disorder, with a prevalence ranging from 3 percent in younger children to 23 percent in adolescents. Owing to their minimal side effects, there is a growing interest in nutraceuticals for paediatric migraine prevention,” said the researchers.

The researchers retrospectively analysed 42 paediatric patients (mean age 13.38 years) who were diagnosed with migraine or new daily persistent headache. Patients were given riboflavin 100 mg or 200 mg twice/day according to their body weight (20–40 or >40 kg, respectively). Treatment efficacy was assessed using a 4-point headache frequency reduction scale of <10 percent (no benefit), ≥10–30 percent (mild), ≥30–50 percent (moderate), and ≥50 percent (significant). [AHS 2020]

Among all the participants, 61.9 percent of the patients achieved a ≥50 percent reduction in headache frequency with riboflavin, while 21.4 percent reported no benefit and 16.7 percent reported mild to moderate headache.

Patients treated with riboflavin achieved a significant reduction in monthly headache days from baseline to month 2–4 (mean, from 21.90 to 11.07 days; p<0.001).

Significant reductions in headache intensity (mean, from 8.85 to 2.30; p<0.001) and duration (from 18.23 to 10.18 hours; p=0.001) were also observed from baseline to month 2–4.

Reduced headache frequency and intensity were also observed among patients with new daily persistent headache, the researchers noted.

There was a positive correlation between riboflavin efficacy and less utilization of acute medications (p=0.05), which was considered statistically significant, said the researchers.

Of note, eight patients in the study also experienced an improvement in sleep after treatment.

“[In conclusion,] riboflavin significantly reduced monthly headache days, … intensity, and duration … [in a majority of] children and adolescents,” said the researchers.

“[As] no adverse effects were reported, … we [therefore] recommend riboflavin as a safe, inexpensive, and effective nutraceutical in the treatment of migraine in the paediatric population,” they added.
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