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Keywords:

  • pediatric migraine;
  • divalproex sodium;
  • migraine prophylaxis;
  • adolescents;
  • safety

Objective.— The objective of this long-term open-label study in adolescents was to assess the safety and tolerability of divalproex sodium extended-release in the prophylaxis of migraine headaches.

Background.— Two formulations of divalproex sodium have demonstrated efficacy in the prevention of migraine headaches in adults. However, no medications are currently approved for this indication in adolescents, and long-term safety data on agents for migraine prevention are lacking for this younger population. Therefore, the current study was conducted to assess the long-term safety and tolerability of divalproex extended-release in adolescents with migraine headaches.

Methods.— This was a 12-month, phase 3, open-label, multicenter study of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years with migraine headaches diagnosed by International Headache Society criteria. Divalproex sodium extended-release was initiated at 500 mg/day for 15 days then increased to 1000 mg daily, with subsequent adjustments permitted within a dosing range of 250-1000 mg daily. Study visits were conducted at days 1 and 15 and months 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12. Safety was evaluated by adverse event collection, laboratory assessments, physical and neurological examinations, vital signs, electrocardiograms, the Udvalg for Kliniske Undersøgelser Side Effect Rating Scale, the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, and the Behavioral Assessment Scale for Children. Efficacy was evaluated by following the number of migraine headache days reported in subjects' headache diaries over sequential 4-week intervals for the duration of the trial.

Results.— A total of 241 subjects were enrolled and treated. The most frequently reported adverse events were nausea (19%), vomiting (18%), weight gain (12%), nasopharyngitis (11%), migraine (10%), and upper respiratory tract infection (10%). Ten (4%) subjects experienced serious adverse events, and 40 (17%) subjects discontinued because of an adverse event. Increases in ammonia levels were observed. No other clinically significant changes were observed in laboratory values, vital signs, rating scales, or electrocardiograms. Median 4-week migraine headache days decreased 75% between the first and the fourth months of the study (from 4.0 to 1.0) and remained at or below this level for the remainder of the study.

Conclusions.— In this long-term open-label study of adolescents with migraine, the safety and tolerability profile of divalproex sodium extended-release was consistent with findings from previous trials in adults, as well as 2 studies recently completed in adolescents. In general, divalproex sodium extended-release was well-tolerated in adolescents with migraine.