The Migraine Trust has called for pharmacists and GPs to receive dedicated training on the management of migraine in children and young people.

Una Farrell, head of communications at The Migraine Trust, has called for more training for primary care providers, including community pharmacists, to help them understand the different types of migraine, the treatments available, and how to help a patient self-manage by identifying triggers.

She told The Pharmacist: ‘Pharmacists are on the frontline in treating migraine and helping people identify that they might have migraine.

‘Especially in community pharmacy, if [a patient] is going in regularly for their headaches, a pharmacist might not be able to diagnose migraine but they can certainly flag that a person might have migraine and that they should go to their doctor for a diagnosis.’

Ms Farrell said pharmacists should ensure patients avoid medications containing opioids and are aware of the risks of medication overuse headache, which can be caused by triptans commonly used to treat migraine attacks. In the UK, sumatriptan 50mg tablets are licenced for OTC purchase.

A migraine diagnosis is important to rule out other causes for headache, such as a brain tumour, and help patients manage the changing symptoms of migraine, which can be impacted by hormonal or lifestyle changes, such as age, menstrual cycle, new environments, or contraception.

For Migraine Awareness Week, which runs from 4 to 10 September, The Migraine Trust is focusing on raising awareness of migraine in children.

In a report released yesterday, it highlighted the importance of recognising the different symptoms of migraine in children, which can include abdominal pain.

The report read: ‘On top of the more general problems that exist with understanding of and training about migraine in primary care, GPs and community pharmacists often may not understand migraine in children in particular and how to help them. For example, they may not recognise it as a condition that children can get.’

Sana Din, Advice and Support Services Manager at the NPA said: ‘Pharmacists are well placed to support patients with migraine and can help to differentiate migraine from headaches. A number of medicines are available, but there are red flag symptoms which pharmacists and trained staff are able to look out for and signpost accordingly.

‘The NPA has supported its members and their pharmacy teams with specialist training and a number of resources on helping patients with migraine, and we will continue to do so. We have also published a red flag factsheet for our members.’

Last year, a study found that the benefits of migraine medication could continue for up to three years post-use in children.