Get access

The prevalence of chronic and episodic migraine in children and adolescents



Background and purpose

Migraine is the most important cause of headache leading to a decrease in the quality of life in children and adolescents. The prevalence of episodic (EM) and chronic migraine (CM) increases with increasing age, which especially focused in recent years.


To evaluate the prevalence and determinants of migraine in children and adolescents, we performed this school-based epidemiological study. First part of the study was performed in 2001 that included 5562 children. Second part of the study was performed in 2007 in adolescents including 1155 young. After the main reports published, we made a new analysis in the database that focused on migraine.


Totally, 10.4% of the children, predominantly the girls, received the diagnosis of migraine when they grew older (1.7% CM, 8.6% EM). CM frequency increased with increasing ages (doubled at 12 years, P = 0.035). The significant risk factors for having CM were found to be age, gender, and father and sibling headache histories. Most of the clinical characteristics of migraine are far from classical knowledge in children with CM.

In adolescents, 18.6% were diagnosed as migraine (1.5%CM, 17.1%EM) with a predominance of girls without age difference. When they reached puberty after 6 years, double the number of cases with CM was headache free. Most of the young changed their headache characteristics during the follow-up period independent from management strategies.


Our results showed that CM is an important cause of headache in both children and adolescents with some defining headache characteristics and risk factors concentrated in different age-groups.