Cognitive behavioral therapy may ease migraine symptoms in kids

ANI| Last Updated: Dec 25, 2013, 13:03 PM IST
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Washington: A new study has revealed that the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) among children and adolescents with chronic migraine result in greater reductions in headache frequency and migraine-related disability compared with headache education

Scott W. Powers, Ph.D., of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues randomized 135 participants (79 percent female) 10 to 17 years of age diagnosed with chronic migraine.

The study was conducted in the Headache Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital between October 2006 and September 2012; 129 participants completed 20-week follow-up and 124 completed 12-month follow-up.

The interventions consisted of 10 CBT or 10 headache education sessions involving equivalent time and therapist attention; CBT included training in pain coping, modified to include a biofeedback component. Each group received amitriptyline; follow-up visits were conducted at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.

On average, at the beginning of the trial, participants reported 21 of 28 days with a headache and a PedMIDAS of 68 points, indicating a severe grade of disability.

From pretreatment to posttreatment, CBT resulted in a decrease of 11.5 headache days vs. 6.8 days with headache education. At 12-month follow-up, 86 percent of CBT participants had a 50 percent or greater reduction in days with headache vs. 69 percent of the headache education group; 88 percent of CBT participants had a PedMIDAS of less than 20 points (mild to no disability) vs. 76 percent of the headache education group.

"Now that there is strong evidence for CBT in headache management, it should be routinely offered [to younger people] as a first-line treatment for chronic migraine along with medications and not only as an add-on if medications are not found to be sufficiently effective," researchers said.

"Also, CBT should be made more accessible to patients by inclusion as a covered service by health insurance as well as testing of alternate formats of delivery, such as using online or mobile formats, which can be offered as an option if in-person visits are a barrier," the authors added.

The study was published in journal JAMA.