Trial of Amitriptyline, Topiramate, and Placebo for Pediatric Migraine

BACKGROUND

Which, medication, if any, to use to prevent the headache of pediatric migraine has not been established.

METHODS

We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of amitriptyline (1 mg per kilogram of body weight per day), topiramate (2 mg per kilogram per day), and placebo in children and adolescents 8 to 17 years of age with migraine. Patients were randomly assigned in a 2:2:1 ratio to receive one of the medications or placebo. The primary outcome was a relative reduction of 50% or more in the number of headache days in the comparison of the 28-day baseline period with the last 28 days of a 24-week trial. Secondary outcomes were headache-related disability, headache days, number of trial completers, and serious adverse events that emerged during treatment.

RESULTS

A total of 361 patients underwent randomization, and 328 were included in the primary efficacy analysis (132 in the amitriptyline group, 130 in the topiramate group, and 66 in the placebo group). The trial was concluded early for futility after a planned interim analysis. There were no significant between-group differences in the primary outcome, which occurred in 52% of the patients in the amitriptyline group, 55% of those in the topiramate group, and 61% of those in the placebo group (amitriptyline vs. placebo, P=0.26; topiramate vs. placebo, P=0.48; amitriptyline vs. topiramate, P=0.49). There were also no significant between-group differences in headache-related disability, headache days, or the percentage of patients who completed the 24-week treatment period. Patients who received amitriptyline or topiramate had higher rates of several adverse events than those receiving placebo, including fatigue (30% vs. 14%) and dry mouth (25% vs. 12%) in the amitriptyline group and paresthesia (31% vs. 8%) and weight loss (8% vs. 0%) in the topiramate group. Three patients in the amitriptyline group had serious adverse events of altered mood, and one patient in the topiramate group had a suicide attempt.

CONCLUSIONS

There were no significant differences in reduction in headache frequency or headache-related disability in childhood and adolescent migraine with amitriptyline, topiramate, or placebo over a period of 24 weeks. The active drugs were associated with higher rates of adverse events. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; CHAMP ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01581281).

N Engl J Med 2017; 376:115-124January 12, 2017

Shortened Antimicrobial Treatment for Acute Otitis Media in Young Children

BACKGROUND

Limiting the duration of antimicrobial treatment constitutes a potential strategy to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance among children with acute otitis media.

METHODS

We assigned 520 children, 6 to 23 months of age, with acute otitis media to receive amoxicillin–clavulanate either for a standard duration of 10 days or for a reduced duration of 5 days followed by placebo for 5 days. We measured rates of clinical response (in a systematic fashion, on the basis of signs and symptomatic response), recurrence, and nasopharyngeal colonization, and we analyzed episode outcomes using a noninferiority approach. Symptom scores ranged from 0 to 14, with higher numbers indicating more severe symptoms.

RESULTS

Children who were treated with amoxicillin–clavulanate for 5 days were more likely than those who were treated for 10 days to have clinical failure (77 of 229 children [34%] vs. 39 of 238 [16%]; difference, 17 percentage points [based on unrounded data]; 95% confidence interval, 9 to 25). The mean symptom scores over the period from day 6 to day 14 were 1.61 in the 5-day group and 1.34 in the 10-day group (P=0.07); the mean scores at the day-12-to-14 assessment were 1.89 versus 1.20 (P=0.001). The percentage of children whose symptom scores decreased more than 50% (indicating less severe symptoms) from baseline to the end of treatment was lower in the 5-day group than in the 10-day group (181 of 227 children [80%] vs. 211 of 233 [91%], P=0.003). We found no significant between-group differences in rates of recurrence, adverse events, or nasopharyngeal colonization with penicillin-nonsusceptible pathogens. Clinical-failure rates were greater among children who had been exposed to three or more children for 10 or more hours per week than among those with less exposure (P=0.02) and were also greater among children with infection in both ears than among those with infection in one ear (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Among children 6 to 23 months of age with acute otitis media, reduced-duration antimicrobial treatment resulted in less favorable outcomes than standard-duration treatment; in addition, neither the rate of adverse events nor the rate of emergence of antimicrobial resistance was lower with the shorter regimen. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01511107.)

N Engl J Med 2016; 375:2446-2456December 22, 2016

Differential effect of mass deworming and targeted deworming for soil-transmitted helminth control in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Background

Soil-transmitted helminth infections are a major global health issue, causing substantial morbidity in the world’s poorest populations. Regular delivery of anthelmintic drugs is the mainstay for global soil-transmitted helminth control. Deworming campaigns are often targeted to school-aged children, who are at high risk of soil-transmitted-helminth-associated morbidity. However, findings from modelling studies suggest that deworming campaigns should be expanded community-wide for effective control of soil-transmitted helminth transmission. We aimed to do a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the effect of mass (community-wide) and targeted (children only) anthelmintic delivery strategies on soil-transmitted helminth prevalence in school-aged children.

Methods

In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science for articles published on or before Nov 5, 2015, reporting soil-transmitted helminth prevalence before and after distribution of albendazole or mebendazole, either targeted to children or delivered to the whole community. We excluded studies in which drug delivery was restricted to infected individuals or to a subset of the community or school, or if follow-up time was less than 3 months or greater than 18 months after drug delivery. We extracted data on study year, country, drug administration strategy, drug dose, number of deworming rounds, treatment coverage, diagnostic method, follow-up interval, and soil-transmitted helminth prevalence before and after treatment. We used inverse variance weighted generalised linear models, with prevalence reduction as the outcome variable, to examine the effect of mass versus targeted drug administration, as well as baseline prevalence, number of drug doses, and follow-up time. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42016026929.

Findings

Of 10 538 studies identified, 56 studies were eligible for the systematic review and 38 of these were included in meta-analysis. Results of the regression models showed that mass deworming led to a significantly greater reduction in prevalence in children than targeted deworming, for both hookworm (odds ratio 4·6, 95% CI 1·8–11·6; p=0·0020) and Ascaris lumbricoides (16·4, 2·1–125·8; p=0·0092), with no effect seen for Trichuris trichiura. There was significant heterogeneity across studies; for targeted studies I2 was 97% for A lumbricoides and hookworm, and 96% for T trichiura, and for mass studies, I2 was 89% for A lumbricoides, 49% for hookworm, and 66% for T trichiura.

Interpretation

The results of this meta-analysis suggest that expanding deworming programmes community-wide is likely to reduce the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths in the high-risk group of school-aged children, which could lead to improved morbidity outcomes. These findings are in support of recent calls for re-evaluation of global soil-transmitted helminth control guidelines.

Funding

None.

Reference: The Lancet online, 12th December 2016

Safety of Adding Salmeterol to Fluticasone Propionate in Children with Asthma

BACKGROUND Long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) have been shown to increase the risk of asthma-related death among adults and the risk of asthma-related hospitalization among children. It is unknown whether the concomitant use of inhaled glucocorticoids with LABAs mitigates those risks. This trial prospectively evaluated the safety of the LABA salmeterol, added to fluticasone propionate, in a fixed-dose combination in children.

METHODS We randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, children 4 to 11 years of age who required daily asthma medications and had a history of asthma exacerbations in the previous year to receive fluticasone propionate plus salmeterol or fluticasone alone for 26 weeks. The primary safety end point was the first serious asthma-related event (death, endotracheal intubation, or hospitalization), as assessed in a time-to-event analysis. The statistical design specified that noninferiority would be shown if the upper boundary of the 95% confidence interval of the hazard ratio for the primary safety end point was less than 2.675. The main efficacy end point was the first severe asthma exacerbation that led to treatment with systemic glucocorticoids, as assessed in a time-to-event analysis.

RESULTS Among the 6208 patients, 27 patients in the fluticasone–salmeterol group and 21 in the fluticasone-alone group had a serious asthma-related event (all were hospitalizations); the hazard ratio with fluticasone–salmeterol versus fluticasone alone was 1.28 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73 to 2.27), which showed the noninferiority of fluticasone–salmeterol (P=0.006). A total of 265 patients (8.5%) in the fluticasone–salmeterol group and 309 (10.0%) in the fluticasone-alone group had a severe asthma exacerbation (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.01).

CONCLUSIONS In this trial involving children with asthma, salmeterol in a fixed-dose combination with fluticasone was associated with the risk of a serious asthma-related event that was similar to the risk with fluticasone alone. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline; VESTRI ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01462344.)

N Engl J Med 2016; 375:840-849

Comparative efficacy and tolerability of antidepressants for major depressive disorder in children and adolescents: a network meta-analysis

Background

Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents. However, whether to use pharmacological interventions in this population and which drug should be preferred are still matters of controversy. Consequently, we aimed to compare and rank antidepressants and placebo for major depressive disorder in young people.

Methods

We did a network meta-analysis to identify both direct and indirect evidence from relevant trials. We searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, LiLACS, regulatory agencies’ websites, and international registers for published and unpublished, double-blind randomised controlled trials up to May 31, 2015, for the acute treatment of major depressive disorder in children and adolescents. We included trials of amitriptyline, citalopram, clomipramine, desipramine, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, imipramine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, nortriptyline, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine. Trials recruiting participants with treatment-resistant depression, treatment duration of less than 4 weeks, or an overall sample size of less than ten patients were excluded. We extracted the relevant information from the published reports with a predefined data extraction sheet, and assessed the risk of bias with the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The primary outcomes were efficacy (change in depressive symptoms) and tolerability (discontinuations due to adverse events). We did pair-wise meta-analyses using the random-effects model and then did a random-effects network meta-analysis within a Bayesian framework. We assessed the quality of evidence contributing to each network estimate using the GRADE framework. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42015016023.

Findings

We deemed 34 trials eligible, including 5260 participants and 14 antidepressant treatments. The quality of evidence was rated as very low in most comparisons. For efficacy, only fluoxetine was statistically significantly more effective than placebo (standardised mean difference −0·51, 95% credible interval [CrI] −0·99 to −0·03). In terms of tolerability, fluoxetine was also better than duloxetine (odds ratio [OR] 0·31, 95% CrI 0·13 to 0·95) and imipramine (0·23, 0·04 to 0·78). Patients given imipramine, venlafaxine, and duloxetine had more discontinuations due to adverse events than did those given placebo (5·49, 1·96 to 20·86; 3·19, 1·01 to 18·70; and 2·80, 1·20 to 9·42, respectively). In terms of heterogeneity, the global I2 values were 33·21% for efficacy and 0% for tolerability.

Interpretation

When considering the risk–benefit profile of antidepressants in the acute treatment of major depressive disorder, these drugs do not seem to offer a clear advantage for children and adolescents. Fluoxetine is probably the best option to consider when a pharmacological treatment is indicated.

Funding

National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program).

The Lancet, Volume 388, No. 10047, p881–890, 27 August 2016

Acetaminophen versus Ibuprofen in Young Children with Mild Persistent Asthma

BACKGROUND

Studies have suggested an association between frequent acetaminophen use and asthma-related complications among children, leading some physicians to recommend that acetaminophen be avoided in children with asthma; however, appropriately designed trials evaluating this association in children are lacking.

In a multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group trial, we enrolled 300 children (age range, 12 to 59 months) with mild persistent asthma and assigned them to receive either acetaminophen or ibuprofen when needed for the alleviation of fever or pain over the course of 48 weeks. The primary outcome was the number of asthma exacerbations that led to treatment with systemic glucocorticoids. Children in both groups received standardized asthma-controller therapies that were used in a simultaneous, factorially linked trial.

Participants received a median of 5.5 doses (interquartile range, 1.0 to 15.0) of trial medication; there was no significant between-group difference in the median number of doses received (P=0.47). The number of asthma exacerbations did not differ significantly between the two groups, with a mean of 0.81 per participant with acetaminophen and 0.87 per participant with ibuprofen over 46 weeks of follow-up (relative rate of asthma exacerbations in the acetaminophen group vs. the ibuprofen group, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.69 to 1.28; P=0.67). In the acetaminophen group, 49% of participants had at least one asthma exacerbation and 21% had at least two, as compared with 47% and 24%, respectively, in the ibuprofen group. Similarly, no significant differences were detected between acetaminophen and ibuprofen with respect to the percentage of asthma-control days (85.8% and 86.8%, respectively; P=0.50), use of an albuterol rescue inhaler (2.8 and 3.0 inhalations per week, respectively; P=0.69), unscheduled health care utilization for asthma (0.75 and 0.76 episodes per participant, respectively; P=0.94), or adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS

Among young children with mild persistent asthma, as-needed use of acetaminophen was not shown to be associated with a higher incidence of asthma exacerbations or worse asthma control than was as-needed use of ibuprofen. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; AVICA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01606319.)

Cardiovascular safety of methylphenidate among children and young people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): nationwide self controlled case series study

Objective To determine whether treatment with methylphenidate in children and young people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was associated with cardiovascular events.

Design Self controlled case series analysis.

Setting Nationwide health insurance database, 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2011, in South Korea.

Participants 1224 patients aged ≤17 who had experienced an incident cardiovascular event and had had at least one incident prescription for methylphenidate.

Main outcome measures A recorded diagnosis (either a primary or secondary cause) of any of the following cardiovascular adverse events: arrhythmias (ICD-10 (international classification of diseases, 10th revision) codes I44, I45, I47, I48, I49), hypertension (codes I10-I15), myocardial infarction (code I21), ischemic stroke (code I63), or heart failure (code I50). Incidence rate ratios were calculated with conditional Poisson regression and adjusted for time varying comorbidity and comedication.

Results Increased risk of arrhythmia was observed in all exposed time periods—that is, periods of treatment with methylphenidate—(incidence rate ratio 1.61, 95% confidence interval 1.48 to 1.74), and the risk was highest in the children who had congenital heart disease. No significant risk of myocardial infarction was observed for all exposed time periods (1.33, 0.90 to 1.98), though risk was higher in the early risk periods between eight and 56 days after the start of treatment with methylphenidate. No significant increased risk was observed for hypertension, ischemic stroke, or heart failure.

Conclusion The relative risk of myocardial infarction and arrhythmias is increased in the early period after the start of methylphenidate treatment for ADHD in children and young people. Though the absolute risk is likely to be low, the risk-benefit balance of methylphenidate should be carefully considered, particularly in children with mild ADHD.

BMJ 2016;353:i2550