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Zonisamide Prophylaxis in Refractory Pediatric Headache


  • Ann Pakalnis MD,

  • Donna Kring RN, MSN, PNP

  • From the Neurology Division, Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH.

Address all correspondence to Dr. Ann Pakalnis, Neurology Division, Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Drive, Columbus, OH 43205.


Introduction.—Currently, no medications are approved for pediatric headache prophylaxis in the United States. Zonisamide is an antiepileptic drug with preliminary studies suggesting some efficacy in the adult headache population.

Methods.—A retrospective chart review was conducted on refractory headache patients in our multidisciplinary Headache Clinic who were treated with zonisamide, an antiepileptic drug, for headache prophylaxis. Records were reviewed for pertinent data including patient history, diagnosis, prior treatment regimens, and zonisamide response, along with headache frequency.

Results.—Twelve patients were identified (8 girls); mean age was 13.5 years. Eight of the 12 patients had a positive response to zonisamide with greater than 50% reduction in headaches from pretreatment values.

Conclusion.—Zonisamide had some efficacy in headache reduction. It was well tolerated with only minor side effects. Further prospective studies with zonisamide are warranted in refractory pediatric headache patients.