Is cyclic vomiting syndrome related to migraine?

J Pediatr. 1999 May;134(5):567-72. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(99)70242-8.


Objective: To examine the overlap between cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) and migraine by comparing 2 subsets of children with migraine-associated and non-migraine-associated CVS.

Methods: We studied all children <18 years of age who met the consensus criteria for CVS after presentation to our pediatric gastroenterology service from 1986 to 1998. The clinical patterns and responses to treatment were obtained from a combination of chart reviews and structured interviews.

Results: Among 214 children identified as having CVS, 82% were classified as having migraine-associated CVS based on 1 of 2 criteria either a family history of migraines or subsequent development of migraine headaches. Compared with the non-migraine CVS subgroup, the migraine subset had milder episodes (20.7 27.3 SD vs 39.5 66.5 emeses/episode, P =.006); more symptoms of abdominal pain (83% vs 66%), headache (41% vs 24%), social withdrawal (40% vs 22%), photophobia (36% vs 16%, all P <.05); more frequent triggering events (70% vs 49%, P =.013) including psychologic stress (39% vs 22%), physical exhaustion (23% vs 3%), and motion sickness (10% vs 0%); and a higher positive response rate to anti-migraine therapy (79% vs 36%, P =.002).

Conclusions: The majority of children with CVS were subclassified as having migraine-associated CVS. The migraine-associated subgroup had less severe vomiting, manifested symptoms typical of migraine headaches, and had higher response rates to anti-migraine therapy. These findings strengthen the relationship between migraine and CVS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / complications
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Syndrome
  • Vomiting / complications
  • Vomiting / drug therapy
  • Vomiting / physiopathology*