Red wine as a cause of migraine

Lancet. 1988 Mar 12;1(8585):558-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(88)91353-0.


Patients with migraine who believed that red wine but not alcohol in general had a headache-provoking effect on them were challenged either with red wine or with a vodka and diluent mixture of equivalent alcohol content, both consumed cold out of dark bottles to disguise colour and flavour. The red wine, which had a negligible tyramine content, provoked a typical migraine attack in 9 of 11 such patients, whereas none of the 8 challenged with vodka had an attack. Neither red wine nor vodka provoked such episodes in other migrainous subjects or controls. These findings show that red wine contains a migraine-provoking agent that is neither alcohol nor tyramine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Alcoholic Beverages / analysis
  • Diet
  • Ethanol / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*
  • Tyramine / analysis
  • Wine / adverse effects*
  • Wine / analysis


  • Ethanol
  • Tyramine