Adolescents are often prescribed opioids for headache, despite guidelines recommending nonprescription analgesics or triptans as the first-line treatment for pediatric migraine, according to a retrospective observational analysis based on commercial claims data (DeVries A et al. J Adolesc Health. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.12.014 [published online February 26, 2014]).
Opioids are not effective for treating migraine and may lead to chronic daily headaches or abuse in young adults, stated the authors. Yet 46% of 8373 adolescents with headache received an opioid prescription. During the follow-up period (1 year or longer after the first headache diagnosis), 48% of the teens initially prescribed opioids were given 1 more prescription for opioids, and 29% received 3 more opioid prescriptions.
Slomski A. Contrary to Guidelines, Teens Prescribed Opioids for Headache . JAMA. 2014;311(16):1602. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.4453