Disparities and Trends in Migraine Management in Pediatric Emergency Departments, 2009–19



      To assess the variation in migraine management over time across US children's hospitals and to identify factors associated with disparities in management.


      We conducted a retrospective study of 32 hospitals in the Pediatric Health Information System from 2009 to 2019. We included children 7 to 21 years old with primary ICD-9 or ICD-10 diagnosis codes for migraine headache. We surveyed hospitals to assess for clinical guideline presence. We assessed medication use trends over time. To examine differences in medication and advanced head imaging use by patient characteristics and presence of clinical guideline, we performed multivariable logistic regression analyses reporting adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).


      We identified 112,077 eligible visits. Opioid use decreased over time, while nonopioid analgesic, dopamine antagonist, and diphenhydramine use increased. Multivariable analysis for opioids revealed increased odds of use for those 14 to 17 (aOR 1.19; 95% CI, 1.06, 1.34) and 18 to 21 years old (aOR 1.69; CI, 1.37, 2.08), and clinical guideline presence had decreased odds (aOR 0.64; CI, 0.48, 0.84). For head computed tomography, increased odds of use were reported for Hispanic ethnicity (aOR 1.15; CI, 1.06, 1.24) and decreased odds for 14 to 17 years (aOR 0.85; CI, 0.80, 0.90), 18 to 21 years (aOR 0.87; CI, 0.77, 0.98), and female sex (aOR 0.74; CI, 0.70, 0.79).


      Opioid use decreased while other medications increased over time. Medication and imaging differed by demographic characteristics. Opioid use was less likely in hospitals with clinical guidelines. Standardization in management may decrease care disparities and variability.


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