Research: migraine and MS

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EpubVillani et al. Determinants of the severity of comorbid migraine in multiple sclerosis.Neurol Sci. 2012 May 27.

Background: A high co-morbidity between MS and migraine has been reported, especially in young female MSers affected by a relapsing-remitting (RR) course of MS. 


Objective: In this study, the investigators aimed to elucidate the determinants of the severity of comorbid migraine in MS.

Methods: Demographic, clinical and psychometric variables were collected from a cohort of 205 RR-MSers regularly attending to an Italian outpatient MS Centre. 

Results: 102 (49.8 %) MSers were diagnosed as affected by comorbid migraine. About one-third of MSers with comorbid migraine have asked the attending neurologist for a specific anti-migraine treatment. Despite this, only few MSers (10.8 %) reported a prior use of prophylactic drugs, and even fewer (2.9 %) took triptans as abortive therapy; these proportions were significantly lower when compared with those of a control group of 63 migraineurs subjects without MS (p < 0.0001 for both comparison). Factors associated with a moderate or severe disability (MIDAS grades III or IV) due to comorbid migraine in MSers were the depressive state (OR = 4.294; p = 0.001), the anxiety trait (OR = 5.786; p = 0.004) and an ongoing IFNbeta treatment (OR = 2.337; p = 0.028). Likewise, depression (OR = 3.453; p = 0.048) and anxiety (OR = 4.582; p = 0.014) were both independent predictors for having a MIDAS grades of III or IV also in migraineurs subjects without MS. 

Conclusions: Investigating the determinants of migraine severity may allow a better management of MSers with comorbid migraine. In these MSers, a tailored therapeutic approach is warranted to improve their quality of life and reduce the burden of these two chronic and disabling conditions.

Migraine is a chronic disorder characterized by moderate to severe headaches and nausea. The Migraine_Disability_Assessment_Test (MIDAS) is a test used by doctors to determine how severely impacted a migraneur is by migraines.”


“Migraine is very common in MS; this study suggests the prevalence in MS is more than double the background rate. Migraine is another complication of MS that MSers can do without. It is one of the most expensive neurological diseases globally; its impact on economic productivity is enormous.”
“If you have migraine let your neurologist know about it; we have effective treatments to prevent, abort and treat migraine attacks.”

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

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