clinical features of childhood migraine

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  • occurs in all age groups, even younger than 5 years (1)
  • migraine has a 1-year prevalence of about 7% among school-age children (2)
  • migraine occurs in 3% to 10% of children and increases with age up to puberty (3)
  • migraine affects boys and girls similarly before puberty, but girls are more likely to suffer from migraine afterwards (3)
  • migraine spontaneously remits after puberty in half of children, but if it begins during adolescence, it may be more likely to persist throughout adulthood (3)
  • variable frequency of attacks, 20% have 2 to 3 attacks per week (1)
  • variable duration however the majority are less than 5 hours(1)
  • children experience all the different types of migraine:
    • hemianopic aura are rarer
    • vertebrobasilar syndromes more common
  • first degree relatives of subjects with migraine have a 1.9 times higher risk of developing migraine compared to the general population and the concordance rate for migraine with aura in monozygotic twins is 34% compared to 12% in dizygotic twins (4)


  1. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 2004; 42 (4): 25-8.
  2. Ashina M. Migraine. N Engl J Med 2020;383:1866-76. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1915327
  3. Barnes NP. Migraine headache in children. BMJ Clin Evid. 2011; 2011: 0318
  4. Spiri D et al. Pediatric migraine and episodic syndromes that may be associated with migraine. Ital J Pediatr. 2014; 40: 92.

Last edited 11/2020 and last reviewed 07/2021