Migralepsy, hemicrania epileptica, post-ictal headache and "ictal epileptic headache": a proposal for terminology and classification revision

J Headache Pain. 2011 Jun;12(3):289-94. doi: 10.1007/s10194-011-0318-4. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Despite the fact that migraine and epilepsy are among the commoner brain diseases and that comorbidity of these conditions is well known, only few reports of migralepsy and hemicrania epileptica (HE) have been published according to the current ICHD-II criteria. Particularly, ICHD-II describes "migraine-triggered seizure" (i.e., migralepsy) among complications of migraine at "1.5.5" (as a rare event in which a seizure happens during migrainous aura), while hemicrania epileptica (coded at "7.6.1") and post-ictal headache (coded at "7.6.2") are described among headaches attributed to epileptic seizure. However, to date neither the International Headache Society nor the International League against Epilepsy mention that headache/migraine may be the sole ictal epileptic manifestation. Based on the current knowledge, migralepsy is highly unlikely to exist as such. We, therefore, propose to delete this term until clear evidence its existence is provided. Moreover, we herein propose a revision of terminology and classification criteria to properly represent the migraine/headache relationships. We suggest the term "ictal epileptic headache" in cases in which headache/migraine is the sole ictal epileptic manifestation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Epilepsy / classification*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / classification*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology