Epilepsy and migraine

Epilepsy Behav. 2003 Oct;4 Suppl 2:S13-24. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2003.07.003.


Migraine and epilepsy are both chronic disorders characterized by recurrent neurologic attacks variously accompanied by headache as well as by gastrointestinal, autonomic, and psychologic features. Migraine and epilepsy are linked by their symptom profiles, comorbidity, and treatment. The presence of one disorder increases the likelihood that the other is also present. In addition, a number of migraine syndromes can be confused with epilepsy. The diagnosis and treatment of each disorder must take into account the potential presence of the other. Herein, we review the relationship between migraine and epilepsy. We discuss the diagnosis of migraine using the International Headache Society criteria, emphasizing the variants of migraine most frequently mistaken for epilepsy. We summarize the epidemiologic evidence that migraine and epilepsy are associated and discuss specific interrelationships between migraine and epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / therapy
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy
  • Syndrome