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Is high-dose magnesium supplementation helpful in adolescents with migraine?
  1. Julia Avery1,
  2. Lucinda Etheridge2
  1. 1 St George's University of London, London, UK
  2. 2 Paediatric Department, St George's Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lucinda Etheridge, Paediatric Department, St George's Hospital, London, SW17 0QT, UK; lucinda.etheridge{at}

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A 14-year-old girl is seen in an outpatient clinic with a new diagnosis of migraine without aura. She is having at least one episode every week and it is affecting her time in school. Her father has read online that regular high-dose magnesium supplements may be helpful to reduce frequency of migraine. This is not included in local or national guidance, so you decide to research the evidence for benefit.

Structured clinical question

In adolescents (10–18 years) with migraine, with or without aura (population), is the use of high-dose magnesium supplementation (intervention) helpful in reducing the frequency and severity of episodes (outcome)?


MEDLINE via PubMed for primary and secondary sources up to October 2020 using the search terms ‘(magnesium) AND (migraine) AND (adolescent OR teenage OR young OR paediatric)’. Sixty-four results were found, many of which only included an adult population (>18 years of age). Nine papers were considered in detail, and four included (table 1).1

View this table:
Table 1

Summary of included studies


The International Headache Society (IHS) defines migraine as ‘a recurrent headache that occurs with or without aura and lasts for 2–48 hours.’ It is a typical presentation in young people and is in the top five most prevalent long-term conditions in children.2 The onset of migraine tends to last between 15 and 30 min, occurring unilaterally. Exacerbated by physical exercise, its accompanying features include phonophobia, photophobia, vomiting and nausea.2 Patients often describe the headache as …

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  • Contributors LE conceived the idea for the topic. JA carried out the literature search and critical analysis and wrote the initial manuscript. Both authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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