According to the Migraine Research Foundation, about 10 percent of American children suffer from migraines. To alleviate the condition, most parents rely on ibuprofen or acetaminophen, either of which can damage the liver, or cause other side effects.
However, clinical research has found that adding magnesium to a treatment of either ibuprofen or acetaminophen helped reduce pain intensity significantly in children ages 5 to 16 years old.
Interestingly, magnesium helped accelerate relief in the acetaminophen group and reduced the frequency of pain in both groups, which is something that neither over-the-counter medicine could do on its own.
Parents with children who suffer migraines may consider magnesium as an option. Given daily, it has the potential to prevent frequent migraines, and coupled with standard medicines, it can make those over-the-counter drugs more effective each time.
Gallelli L, Avenoso T, Falcone D, Palleria C, Peltrone F, Esposito M, De Sarro G, Carotenuto M, Guidetti V. Effects of acetaminophen and ibuprofen in children with migraine receiving preventive treatment with magnesium. Headache. 2014 Feb;54(2):313-24.
AIM: The purpose of this study was to evaluate both the effects of ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen for the acute treatment of primary migraine in children in or out prophylactic treatment with magnesium.
METHODS: Children ranging from the ages of 5 to 16 years with at least 4 attack/month of primary migraine were eligible for participation the study. A visual analog scale was used to evaluate pain intensity at the moment of admission to the study (start of the study) and every month up to 18 months later (end of the study).
RESULTS: One hundred sixty children of both sexes aged 5-16 years were enrolled and assigned in 4 groups to receive a treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen without or with magnesium. Migraine pain endurance and monthly frequency were similar in the 4 groups. Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen induced a significant decrease in pain intensity (P < .01), without a time-dependent correlation, but did not modify its frequency. Magnesium pretreatment induced a significant decrease in pain intensity (P < .01) without a time-dependent correlation in both acetaminophen- and ibuprofen-treated children and also significantly reduced (P < .01) the pain relief timing during acetaminophen but not during ibuprofen treatment (P < .01). In both acetaminophen and ibuprofen groups, magnesium pretreatment significantly reduced the pain frequency (P < .01).
CONCLUSIONS: Magnesium increased the efficacy of ibuprofen and acetaminophen with not age-related effects.