Everything You Need to Know About Children and Excedrin Migraine Medicine

It’s never easy to see your child in pain, especially migraine pain. You may want to turn to Excedrin Migraine medicine to provide your child with some relief, but you should always speak with a pediatrician or healthcare provider before doing so. Although rare, aspirin (an ingredient in Excedrin Migraine) has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a severe disorder in children.

Learn more about the causes, symptoms, risks, and side effects of children taking Excedrin Migraine.

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Causes of Migraines in Children

About 3%–10% of children experience migraines, and the risk increases with age through puberty.

Migraines occur in children for a variety of reasons, some of which include:

  • Infection and illness: Children sometimes have a headache that accompanies a cold, sinus infection, or the flu. Although these types of illnesses can occur at any time of the year, they most commonly occur between October and May, the traditional cold and flu season.
  • Genetics: Migraines often run in families. About 60%–70% of children who have migraines have a parent or immediate family member who also experiences migraines.
  • Mental health: Stress or anxiety related to school or family problems can cause headaches in children.
  • Head trauma: Head injuries are obvious culprits of headaches and migraine pain. Take your child to see a physician if they have experienced a head injury and are having headaches.
  • Dietary: Changes to normal eating patterns or skipping meals can cause migraines in children. Some specific foods and drinks may increase the likelihood of headaches in children, too, including chocolate, cheese, fermented foods, foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG), and caffeine.
  • Environmental factors: Things like secondhand smoke, strong perfumes, pollution, loud noises, and strong lighting or strobe lights can cause migraines in children.

Tracking Migraines and Diet

Consider keeping a meal journal to see if you can find a link between types of foods and the onset of your child’s migraines.

Child Migraine Symptoms

Symptoms of children’s migraines can vary from mild to severe. They include:

  • Pounding or throbbing head pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Irritability
  • Pale skin
  • Changes in appetite
  • Vision problems

Symptoms may also depend on the type of headache your child is having.

  • Tension headache: Tension headaches cause mild to moderate pain and usually resolve within a day. They are also sometimes referred to as stress headaches. Children may refer to this as pressure surrounding the head.
  • Chronic migraine headache: Chronic migraines are recurrent, painful headaches that occur up to 15 days a month or more, lasting for more than four hours. These are particularly common in teenagers. Symptoms include throbbing head pain, nausea, abdominal pain, and sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Migraine headache: Migraine headaches are more painful and last longer than most other headaches. Migraines can vary in intensity but often include nausea and light sensitivity. About 25% of children who experience a migraine also experience an aura as a migraine is coming on. An aura is a signal that occurs shortly before a migraine starts and can last 20–60 minutes. An aura can consist of blurry or distorted vision, flashing lights, and an inability to speak, smell, taste, or move.

When to See a Physician

If you are concerned about the migraine symptoms your child is experiencing—or if they become more severe—contact your child's pediatrician or healthcare provider.

Can Children Take Excedrin Migraine?

If you are considering treating your child's migraines with Excedrin Migraine, talk to your pediatrician or healthcare provider first.

Excedrin Migraine contains aspirin, which has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but sometimes fatal illness in children. You should not give a child medication containing aspirin if they are recovering from a viral illness, such as the flu or chicken pox.

Excedrin Migraine also contains acetaminophen and caffeine, so you will want to consider any effects these ingredients could have on your child's health as well.

Speaking with your healthcare provider to discuss your child's specific symptoms will determine whether it's safe to treat your child's migraines with Excedrin Migraine.

Risks and Side Effects of Aspirin in Children

Children with the following conditions should not take Excedrin Migraine or any other medication containing aspirin:

As with any medication, aspirin has potential risks and side effects in both adults and children. These may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain or cramps

If your child experiences any unusual symptoms or issues while taking Excedrin Migraine, discuss these with your healthcare provider.

Ways to Prevent Migraines in Children

You can help prevent your child's migraines and manage symptoms by encouraging behavioral changes such as:

  • Ensuring your child sticks to a consistent sleep schedule 
  • Encouraging your child to get some form of exercise every day
  • Keeping your child hydrated and eating a healthy diet
  • Encouraging rest and relaxation
  • Documenting situations when your child’s headache occurs to identify triggers

You may also consider talking with your physician about potential medications to use at the very start of a headache or migraine to help lessen the magnitude of the pain.

Seeking Professional Help

The decision to treat your child's migraines with Excedrin Migraine is difficult and should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional who knows your child's medical history.

Serious side effects may occur with Excedrin Migraine. If you witness any severe side effects as a result of treating your child's migraine with Excedrin Migraine, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

A Word From Verywell

Living with migraines and head pain can be frustrating. It’s essential to speak with your healthcare provider about what medications your child should take to manage pain, and whether Excedrin Migraine is safe for your child.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, having regular checkups, and establishing a treatment plan with a trusted healthcare provider are the best preventive steps you can take in your child’s overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often can children take Excedrin Migraine medicine?

    Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child Excedrin Migraine or any other headache medication. Excedrin Migraine contains aspirin, which has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but sometimes fatal illness.

  • How long will it take for Excedrin Migraine medicine to begin providing relief to my child?

    Excedrin Migraine can begin providing relief within 30–45 minutes. However, speak with a healthcare provider before giving Excedrin Migraine or any other medication containing aspirin to your child.

  • Will Excedrin Migraine give my child any other side effects?

    Possible side effects of Excedrin Migraine include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and stomach pain. Talk with your healthcare provider before giving your child Excedrin Migraine or any other headache medication.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Barnes NP. Migraine headache in childrenBMJ Clin Evid. 2015;2015:0318.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Migraines in children and adolescents.

  3. Migraine Research Foundation. Migraine in kids and teens.

  4. Gelfand AA, Fullerton HJ, Goadsby PJ. Child Neurology: Migraine with aura in childrenNeurology. 2010;75(5):e16-e19. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181ebdd53

  5. American Migraine Foundation. Understanding migraine with aura.

  6. Food and Drug Administration. Aspirin: questions and answers.

  7. Cleveland Clinic. Aspirin sensitivity & aspirin desensitization.

By Sarah Jividen, RN
Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a freelance healthcare journalist and content marketing writer at Health Writing Solutions, LLC. She has over a decade of direct patient care experience working as a registered nurse specializing in neurotrauma, stroke, and the emergency room.