Abdominal Migraine Treatment

Abdominal migraine treatment can be hard to determine as stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, that accompany the stomach pain can mask a migraine.

And it can often be mistaken for infections, flu or gastric problems.

We now know that most children that get abdominal migraines commonly have a family history of migraine disorder.

It is inherited and can cause many parents guilt and grief over passing on such a dreadfully painful disease.

Sadly, many children who experience abdominal migraines will also experience other migraines as they grow into adulthood. I never had migraines until I was 32 years old. I just can't imagine how horrible they would be to have in childhood.

Abdominal Migraine Treatment is the Same for Adults and Children

The medications for abdominal migraine treatment in children are not different to classic migraine treatment in adults.

The medications used are: anti-nausea medications like Phenergan, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like naproxen or ibuprofen. And the family of triptan medications that target aborting migraines specifically.

Triptan medications now come in different delivery forms. Two are approved by the FDA to treat children so look for a doctor that has past experience with other migraine patients.

The two oral abortive medications are now approved for adolescents are:

  • Almotriptan is recommended for ages 12-17
  • And Rizatriptan is recommended for ages 6 – 17. Both are on label.

For those kids who can’t tolerate oral – Sumatriptan NS has been studied down to age 6 with Zolmitriptan NS have better absorption so preferable for those weighing under 40 kilograms. Sumatriptan SC is also an option (Gelfand 2013).

Migraine Management: How To Reduce Anxiety, Manage Pain, Prevent Attacks

Difficult to Diagnose

This is often difficult for doctors to diagnose, especially if you as a parent are not familiar with abdominal migraine symptoms. The symptoms so closely resemble ordinary colds and flu, stomach ache and other gastrointestinal diseases.

Knowing about the family history can make a difference in your doctor’s diagnosis, so make sure you check with the elders.

Most likely your Doctor will order a wide range of other tests to eliminate other issues that might be causing the stomach pain. I highly recommend finding a doctor that specializes in migraine, or if its like here, has a special interest in migraine. Otherwise, they will be taking their best shot in hopes of getting the right strategy.

It might be helpful to keep a written record, or diary of your symptoms – their frequency, pain scale, and physical symptoms. Printing out this migraine diary calendar might be helpful. 

Your Doctor might check for:

  • sudden and severe stomach ache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • a decreased appetite
  • excessive yawning, and tiredness
  • unexplained head pain
  • whiteness or reddening of the skin

Prescribing serotonin blockers or antidepressants is common with an unknown cause.

The nasal form of Sumatriptan is commonly used in older children.

Valproic acid is also a helpful abdominal migraine treatment to reduce pain effectively. 

Abortive Medications for Acute Abdominal Migraine Treatment

Abortive medications are for acute treatment of the migraine attack. They are not preventatives that are taken on a daily basis to provide relief. Nor are they pain killers that mask the pain.

The intention and purpose of a triptan is to abort the attack all together. Click here for more details on the list of triptans that includes side effects. 

Here is a quick A – Z list of abortive medications that can be used as abdominal migraine treatment but first:

Abdominal Migraine Treatment Disclaimer

Read The Warnings.

Abdominal Migraine Treatment

The warnings on your prescriptions are of vital importance.

Please be informed on what you are ingesting and be aware of what to watch for (side effects) if you have an adverse reaction to the medication. Ask your doctor who to call and what to do.

The A - Z List of Triptans Used for Abdominal Migraines

• Almotriptan (Axert®

Oral dose – 12.5 mgs
Allow 2 hours to take effect

• Eletriptan (Relpax®)

Oral dose – 40 mgs
Takes less than 30 minutes

• Frovatriptan (Frova®)

Oral dose – 2.5 mgs
Allow 2 to 4 hours.  It has a 6 hour half life

Frova is often prescribed for period related migraines.

Naramig for Abdominal Migraines

• Naratriptan (Amerge®, Naramig®)

Oral dose – 2.5 mgs
Takes 2 to 4 hours. And 25 hour half life (bonus period of pain relief)

• Rizatriptan (Maxalt®)

Oral dose – 10 mgs
Less than 2 hours

• Sumatriptan (Imitrex®, Imigran®)

This was the first triptan invented.  

• Sumatriptan and Naproxen Sodium (Treximet™)

Comes in oral capsules. Contains: Sumatriptan 85 mgs and Naproxen Sodium 500 mgs.

There are strong warnings with this medication. Consult with your doctor when considering this medication for abdominal migraine treatment.

• Zolmitriptan (Zomig®)

Oral Melt and Nasal Spray – 2.5 mgs
The nasal spray should take effect in 15 minutes. Allow 2 hours for the melt.

This medication reports minimal side effects.

Please be careful, I can’t stress that enough. There are different delivery methods for triptans. Nasal spray can be prescribed, or self-injection, or wafer thin dissolving tablets. 

Stay in touch for updates.

Migraine Management: How To Reduce Anxiety, Manage Pain, Prevent Attacks

Trial, Error and Alternatives

Maxalt for Abdominal Migraines

Finding the right abdominal migraine treatment might take some testing and experimenting.

You may even want to read these articles to try something more alternative like home remedies or biofeedback therapy.

Or read this article for a more traditional prevention approach to childhood migraines.

Try to persevere with these medications. There is a good chance you will find one that works. I did. Many of us do, but it takes time.

And any pain relief will be beneficial even if you decide not to take the medications at a later date.

Plan ahead for pain relief.

It will come in handy.

Finding Relief With Effective Treatments

I use a combination of these things to bring relief. Give one a try.

Ice packs are my number one choice for finding fast pain relief. I always have two in the freezer to alternate.

• Did you know you can abort an attack using ice and heat? Read this post. This is an easy way to help stop the pain accelerating.

• And these Relaxation and guided CD's are beneficial for calming down the nervous system and our anxious minds.

Read More

Our Role in
Migraine Prevention

Migraines in Children: What is Different?

Childhood Migraines: Prevention, Treatment and Medications 

Until next time, be well and be pain free.


1. National Headache Foundation (2011) Headache Topic Sheet: Abdominal Migraines [Online], Available at: www.headaches.org/education.

2. Gelfand, Amy MD. (2013) Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics UCSF Child Neurology and Headache Center. Triptans for Kids PDF. 

3. American Headache Society (2006) Patient Information: Oral and Intranasal Triptan Therapy for Acute Migraine Headache. Available at: https://www.americanheadachesociety.org PDF (2011). 

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