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Riboflavin as Migraine Prophylaxis in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of the Literature

1 May 2011


Background: Migraine headache is a common condition among children and the prevalence increases into adolescence. Multiple studies have shown riboflavin to be an effective and safe agent for migraine prophylaxis in adults but few studies have looked at using riboflavin in children and adolescents. The purpose of this paper was to perform a systematic review of the literature on the use of riboflavin for migraine prophylaxis in the pediatric population including children and adolescents. The quality of evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) tool developed by the GRADE Working Group.

Method: An extensive literature search was performed using MEDLINE, CINAHL, Evidence Based Medicine Reviews Multifile, Web of Science, and PubMed. The keyword search terms “migraine” and “riboflavin” were searched individually and in combination. Search results were limited to human studies, articles published in English, and those published from 2000-2011. Studies of adult patients, duplicates, descriptive reviews, and letters to the editor were excluded. This resulted in three studies, which were analyzed in this review.

Results: Two randomized controlled trials (RCT) and one observational study were included. Both RCTs found no significant difference between treatment and placebo groups for migraine frequency, severity, and duration. The observational study showed a significant decrease in migraine frequency and severity.

Conclusion: There is currently low quality evidence supporting the use of riboflavin as migraine prophylaxis in children and adolescents and only a weak recommendation can be made for its use.


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