September 5, 2005

Long-term prognosis of migraine favorable

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research indicates that a
high percentage of patients with migraine or tension-type
headaches experience remission on long-term follow-up.

The findings, which appear in the medical journal
Neurology, are based on an analysis of 549 patients who
participated in a Danish headache study in 1989 and were
reevaluated in 2001. Patient interviews at both time points
were conducted by physicians and standard criteria were used to
diagnose headache.

Sixty-four of the subjects had migraines at the first
evaluation, lead author Dr. Ann Christine Lyngberg, from
Glostrup University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues note.

At follow-up, 27 of the patients (42 percent) had
experienced remission. The remaining migraine patients included
24 (38 percent) who had just 1 to 14 migraine days per year and
13 (20 percent) who had at least 15 migraine days per year, the
report indicates.

Predictors of a poor outcome at follow-up included high
migraine frequency at the first evaluation and the onset of
headaches at younger than 20 years of age.

As for tension-type headache, 146 subjects had frequent
episodic headaches and 15 had chronic headaches at the first
evaluation. At follow-up, 72 subjects (45 percent) had 0 to 14
headache days per year, 64 (40 percent) had 15 to 179 headache
days per year, and 25 (16 percent) had at least 180 headache
days annually.

Predictors of a poor outcome included chronic tension-type
headache at the first evaluation, coexisting migraine, not
being married and sleep problems.

"Knowledge about the prognosis of migraine and tension-type
headache and information of risk factors and protective factors
is important from both a clinical and a public health
perspective," the authors emphasize. The present findings
suggest that, in general, the long-term outcomes of these
headaches are favorable, they add.

SOURCE: Neurology, August 23, 2005.