Ask a teenager what it’s like to have a migraine, and they’ll say it’s the worst. There goes drama club, pet sitting or shopping with friends. Pounding headache; sensitivity to light, noise and certain smells; and nausea and vomiting send them to the nearest dark, cool, quiet room to wait out the 30-minute to hours-long episode.
But with the approval of Topamax (topiramate), manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in March 2014 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat migraine headaches in teens, relief is on the way. The drug was first approved in 1996 to treat seizures, then in 2004 to treat migraines in adults.
In a clinical trial of 103 teens, 72% in the treated group experienced fewer migraines. However, because Topamax can worsen signs of depression or suicidal tendencies, families should be on the lookout for changes in mood or behavior in their teens.