Migraine is comorbid with multiple sclerosis and associated with a more symptomatic MS course

J Headache Pain. 2010 Oct;11(5):417-25. doi: 10.1007/s10194-010-0237-9. Epub 2010 Jul 13.


The objectives of this study were: (1) to assess relative frequency of migraine in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients using the validated self-administered diagnostic questionnaire, and to compare the migraine rates in MS outpatients to age- and gender-matched historical population controls; (2) to compare clinical and radiographic characteristics in MS patients with migraine and headache-free MS patients. We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the demographic profiles, headache features and clinical characteristics of MS patients attending a MS clinic using a questionnaire based on the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study. We compared the relative frequency of migraine in MS clinic patients and AMPP cohort. We also compared clinical and radiographic features in MS patients with migraine to an MS control group without headache. Among 204 MS patients, the relative frequency of migraine was threefold higher than in population controls both for women [55.7 vs. 17.1%; prevalence ratio (PR) =3.26, p<0.001] and men (18.4 vs. 5.6%; PR=3.29, p<0.001). In a series of logistic regression models that controlled for age, gender, disease duration, β-interferon use, and depression, migraine in MS patients was significantly associated (p<0.01) with trigeminal and occipital neuralgia, facial pain, Lhermitte's sign, temporomandibular joint pain, non-headache pain and a past history of depression. Migraine status was not significantly associated with disability on patient-derived disability steps scale or T2 lesion burden on brain MRI. Migraine is three-times more common in MS clinic patients than in general population. MS-migraine group was more symptomatic than the MS-no headache group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnosis
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Interferon-beta