ADHD is associated with migraine: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018 Mar;27(3):267-277. doi: 10.1007/s00787-017-1045-4. Epub 2017 Sep 13.


An association between primary headaches and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has long been suggested. Moreover, headache is regarded as a common side effect of stimulants, the most effective treatment for ADHD. So far, no systematic review has evaluated the potential association between ADHD and headache. We performed a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis of all reported studies on ADHD and primary headaches. Our analysis showed a positive association between ADHD and migraine (OR 1.322, 95% CI 1.018-1717, p value 0.036), but not with tension-type headache. There is a significant association between migraine and ADHD. The mechanisms underlying this association remain to be elucidated, warranting further studies.

Keywords: ADHD; Headache; Meta-analysis; Migraine; Stimulants; Tension-type headache.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*