Endocrine function is altered in chronic migraine patients with medication-overuse

Headache. 2006 Apr;46(4):597-603. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2006.00409.x.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of analgesic overuse on endocrine function in patients with chronic migraine and medication-overuse headache (CM-MOH).

Background: Chronic migraine is frequently associated with an overuse of symptomatic medications. Drugs currently used in acute migraine attacks are associated with several endocrine effects. At present, the endocrine effects of medication overuse in chronic migraine patients are unknown.

Methods: Eighteen patients with CM-MOH, diagnosed according to the ICHD-II criteria, and 18 healthy controls received an intravenous administration of GHRH, hCRH, and TRH. Plasma concentrations of GH, TSH, ACTH, and cortisol were measured for a 90-minute period after administration of the specific releasing hormones.

Results: Hormonal basal concentrations were similar in both groups. GH response to GHRH was significantly reduced in patients with CM-MOH in comparison with controls. TRH induced a reduction of TSH concentrations only at the end of the test. After hCRH administration, ACTH and cortisol concentrations were significantly higher in cases than in controls. A significant correlation between duration of the disease and altered hormonal response was found.

Conclusions: Our study shows that both corticotropic and somatotropic functions are significantly impaired in CM-MOH patients and suggests a role for hormones in the development of chronic migraine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Chronic Disease
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / administration & dosage*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacokinetics
  • Endocrine Glands / metabolism
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone / administration & dosage*
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone / pharmacokinetics
  • Headache Disorders, Secondary / blood
  • Headache Disorders, Secondary / complications
  • Headache Disorders, Secondary / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / blood
  • Migraine Disorders / complications
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / administration & dosage*
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacokinetics


  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Thyrotropin
  • Growth Hormone
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone