Chronic daily migraine among adolescents not uncommon

Chronic migraine in adolescents

Culture strongly affects patient behavior relative to disease. This study, among adolescents in Taiwan, identified approximately 1.5% as having chronic daily headache. While many of those did not meet strict inclusion criteria for migraine, most had migraine features.

Most striking is the extent to which chronic daily headache went untreated. Of 82 students experiencing headache more than 15 days per month, only one was on a preventative medication and only 6 had seen a neurologist.

The publication:

Neurology. 2006 Jan 24;66(2):193-7.

Chronic daily headache in adolescents: prevalence, impact, and medication overuse.

Wang SJ, Fuh JL, Lu SR, Juang KD.

Summary of the abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence, impact, and related medication use or overuse of primary chronic daily headache (CDH) among adolescents in a field sample.

METHODS: The authors conducted a two-phase CDH survey of all students from ages 12 to 14 years in five selected middle schools in Taiwan. CDH was defined as headache occurring at a frequency of 15 days/month or more, average of 2 hours/day or more, for more than 3 months.

RESULTS: Of the 7,900 participants, 122 (1.5%) fulfilled the criteria for primary CDH in the past year. Girls had a higher prevalence (2.4%) than boys (0.8%).

Twenty-four subjects (20%) overused medications.

Eighty-two (67%) of all CDH subjects had migraine or probable migraine. Only 6 subjects consulted neurologists in the past year, and only 1 subject took headache prophylactic agents.

CONCLUSIONS: Chronic daily headache (CDH) was common in a large nonreferred adolescent sample. A majority of adolescents with CDH had headaches with features of migraine.

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