Results from several clinical trials support the prophylactic effect of high-dose riboflavin (vitamin B2) supplementation on headache attacks .
In an open-label study (Boehnke et al. 2004), high-dose riboflavin supplementation (400 mg/day) for 6 months resulted in a reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks . Nambiar and colleagues reported that riboflavin supplementation (100 mg/day) is just as effective and better tolerated than 80 mg/day propranolol (the gold standard prophylactic drug) in reducing the frequency , duration , and severity of headaches ( Nambiar et al. 2011).
Several other studies also go in this direction (Maizels et al. 2004; Sandor et al. 2000). Based on this evidence, the American Academy of Neurology Guideline considered riboflavin to be “probably effective” (Grade B) in the prophylaxis of migraine in adults (Holland et al. 2012). The “Canada Headache Society” has also included the vitamin in the list of highly recommended preventive treatments (Pringsheim et al. 2012).
For child's headaches?
Studies in children use often unreliable methodologies, with low doses of riboflavin and small group sizes. All of the trials report inconsistent results.
A first uncontrolled study indicated that high riboflavin supplementation is effective in the prophylaxis of pediatric migraines (Condò et al. 2009), while two other randomized controlled trials show no significant difference between the treated group and the group control (Bruijn et al. 2010; MacLennan, et al. 2008).
However, it is specified that the placebo response is greater in children than in adults (Ho et al. 2009).
According to the WHO, the recommended doses of vitamin B2 are around 1 mg per day in children and 1.5 mg per day in adults , without any maximum dose being mentioned to regulate supplementation.
Riboflavin -based treatments marketed for the treatment of migraine range from 40 mg/day to 400 mg . Since riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin , it is naturally eliminated by the body in the urine in the event of an excess. Known side effects manifest themselves in the form of diarrhea and yellow urine.