Chronic rhinitis and its association with headache frequency and disability in persons with migraine: results of the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study

Cephalalgia. 2014 Apr;34(5):336-48. doi: 10.1177/0333102413512031. Epub 2013 Nov 25.


Background: Rhinitis is a comorbidity of migraine, but its relationship to migraine headache frequency and headache-related disability is unknown.

Objectives: To determine if rhinitis and its subtypes are associated with an increased frequency and associated disability of migraine.

Methods: The AMPP Study is a longitudinal study of individuals with "severe" headache from the US population. Respondents meeting ICHD-2 criteria for migraine in 2008 were identified and the presence of rhinitis was determined using the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). Those with rhinitis were subtyped as allergic, non-allergic, mixed and unclassified based on a rhinitis questionnaire. The primary outcome measures were categories of headache-day frequency and headache-related disability as measured by the Migraine Disability Assessment Scale (MIDAS). Logistic regression for ordered categories was used for modeling each outcome separately, adjusted for sociodemographics profile, headache features, headache treatments and comorbidities.

Results: The AMPP Study questionnaire was mailed to 17,892 persons and returned by 60.1% of respondents. Among the migraine sample ( N = 5849), 66.8% had rhinitis with mixed rhinitis as the most common form. The presence of rhinitis of any type was associated with headache frequency after adjusting for sociodemographic variables only (OR 1.33; 95% CI 1.16, 1.53) and in the fully adjusted model (OR 1.25; 95% CI 1.05-1.49). Headache-related disability (MIDAS category) was associated with rhinitis after adjusting for sociodemographic features (OR 1.30; 95% CI 1.17-1.46), but lost significance in the fully adjusted model (OR 1.10; 95% CI 0.96-1.26). Mixed rhinitis was associated with an increased headache frequency category in the model adjusted for sociodemographics (OR 1.45; 95% CI 1.24-1.70) and in that adjusted for all covariates (OR 1.28; 95% CI 1.05-1.57). The odds ratio for MIDAS categories were similarly increased in both models for the mixed rhinitis group.

Conclusions: The frequency and disability of migraine are higher in persons with rhinitis, particularly those with mixed rhinitis. These results, however, should be considered preliminary until confirmed in future studies because of the modest questionnaire response rate in this study.

Keywords: Rhinitis; allodynia; comorbidities; depression; headache frequency; headache-related disability; migraine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Rhinitis / complications*
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires