Treatment Considerations for Headache in Pediatric Patients

Ginny Tyler Meadows, PharmD Candidate 2016; Candice Bunn, PharmD Candidate 2016; Kim W. Benner, PharmD, BCPS, FASHP, FPPAG


US Pharmacist. 2016;41(5):23-27. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Pediatric patients commonly present with various types of headaches, acutely or chronically. Each patient has individual risk factors and qualifying components that contribute to diagnosis, warranting strategic nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment. Nonpharmacologic techniques can be attempted, with ibuprofen as the most common pharmacologic treatment. Other options may be preferred depending on the individual patient, risk factors, and diagnoses. Pharmacologic options for treatment of chronic headaches are even more vast; complementary and alternative medications have been utilized with relatively unsupported evidence. The management of acute or chronic pediatric headache opens up considerable treatment options for practicing pharmacists.


In the realm of pediatrics, headaches are surprisingly prevalent. Various types of headaches are experienced within the very early years of childhood, with approximately 3% to 8% of children experiencing headaches by the age of 3 years. The incidence ranges from 57% to 82% by the ages of 8 to 15 years