Objective: The objective of this article is to determine whether cutaneous allodynia (CA) influences the response to treatment with occipital transcutaneous electrical stimulation (OTES) in chronic migraine (CM) and chronic tension-type headache (CTTH).
Methods: One hundred and sixty consecutive patients with CM or CTTH were randomized to be treated with real or sham OTES stimulation three times a day for two consecutive weeks. All patients completed the validated 12-item allodynia symptom checklist for assessing the presence and the severity of CA during headache attack. Primary end-point was change (≥50%) in number of monthly headache-free days.
Results: There was a significant difference in the percentage of responders in the real OTES compared with sham OTES group (p <0.001). Importantly, there was not a significant change of monthly headache-free days in the allodynic patients with CM and CTTH treated both with real and sham OTES, while the number of headache-free days per month was significantly reduced in the real (86%) but not in the sham group (7%) of non-allodynic patients with CTTH and CM.
Conclusions: Severe CA is associated with decreased response to treatment with OTES in patients with CM and CTTH.
Keywords: Occipital transcutaneous electrical stimulation; chronic migraine; chronic tension-type headache; cutaneous allodynia.
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