UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Prenatal Triptan Exposure and Internalising and Externalising Behaviour Problems in 3-Year-Old Children: Results from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Clinical Epidemiology | Epidemiology | Maternal and Child Health | Medical Toxicology | Pediatrics


BACKGROUND: Triptans are commonly prescribed for migraine, a pain condition that is highly prevalent in women of childbearing age. No prior studies have investigated associations between exposure to triptans during fetal life and risk of externalising and internalising behaviours in children.

METHODS: This study was set in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study, a prospective birth cohort. A total of 41 173 live, singleton births without major malformations present at 36-month post-partum follow-up were included in this study; 396 used a triptan during pregnancy, 798 used a triptan prior to pregnancy only, 3291 reported migraine without triptan use, and 36 688 reported no history of migraine or triptan use. Marginal structural models were used to analyse the association between timing of triptan exposure and neurodevelopmental outcome.

RESULTS: Children exposed to triptans during pregnancy had a 1.39-fold increased risk of externalising behaviours compared with those whose mothers used triptans prior to pregnancy only (95% CI 0.97, 1.97), a 1.36-fold increased risk compared with the unmedicated migraine group (95% CI 1.02, 1.81), and a 1.41-fold increased risk compared with the population comparison group (95% CI 1.08, 1.85). The greatest risk was associated with first trimester exposure (RR 1.77, 95% CI 0.98, 3.14). Risk differences were small, ranging from 3-6%.

CONCLUSIONS: This study found an increased risk of clinically relevant externalising behaviours in children with prenatal exposure to triptans, and this risk was highest for first trimester exposure. Absolute risks were small, and the results may be due to confounding by underlying migraine severity.


UMCCTS funding

DOI of Published Version



Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2016 Mar;30(2):190-200. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12253. Epub 2015 Nov 3. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Paediatric and perinatal epidemiology

PubMed ID