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Population-Based Characterization of Menstrual Migraine and Proposed Diagnostic Criteria

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  • Mona Ameri Chalmer, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Lisette J.A. Kogelman, University of Copenhagen
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  • Henrik Ullum, Statens Serum Institut
  • ,
  • Erik Sørensen
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  • Maria Didriksen, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Susan Mikkelsen
  • Khoa Manh Dinh
  • Thorsten Brodersen, Sjællands Universitetshospital
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  • Kaspar R. Nielsen, Aalborg University
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  • Mie Topholm Bruun, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Karina Banasik, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
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  • Søren Brunak, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
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  • Christian Erikstrup
  • Ole Birger Pedersen, Sjællands Universitetshospital
  • ,
  • Sisse Rye Ostrowski, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Jes Olesen, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Thomas Folkmann Hansen, University of Copenhagen, Københavns Universitetshospital

Importance: There is a need for better recognition and more extensive research into menstrual migraine (MM) in the general population, and a revision of the diagnostic criteria for MM is warranted to move the field forward. Increased understanding of MM is crucial for improving clinical care, diagnosis, and therapy for MM. Objectives: To assess the clinical characteristics of MM, including severity and treatment response, and to propose new diagnostic criteria for pure MM and menstrually related migraine. Design, Setting, and Participants: This is a case-control study of Danish individuals with migraine. All individuals completed a 105-item validated diagnostic migraine questionnaire, sent via the Danish electronic mailing system (e-Boks) between May and August 2020, allowing diagnosis of pure MM and menstrually related migraine by the International Classification of Headache Disorders, Third Edition (ICHD-3). Data analysis was performed from September 2021 to November 2022. Exposure: Diagnosis of migraine. Main Outcomes and Measures: Clinical characteristics of women with MM and women with nonmenstrual migraine (non-MM) were compared using the ICHD-3 diagnostic criteria. A simulation of the risk of randomly misclassifying MM was based on number of migraine attacks during 3 menstrual cycles (3 × 28 days), and simulation analyses were performed using 100 000 permutations of random migraine attacks in migraine patients. Results: A total of 12 618 individuals, including 9184 women, with migraine participated in the study. Among the women with migraine, the prevalence of MM was 16.6% (1532 women), and the prevalence of non-MM was 45.9% (4216 women). The mean (SD) age was 38.7 (8.7) years for women with MM and 37.0 (9.2) years for women with non-MM. Of the 1532 women with MM, 410 (26.8%) fulfilled ICHD-3 diagnostic criteria for pure MM, 1037 (67.7%) fulfilled ICHD-3 diagnostic criteria for menstrually related migraine, and 152 (9.9%) fulfilled proposed diagnostic criteria for rare pure MM. MM was associated with a higher frequency of migraine-accompanying symptoms (odds ratio [OR], 1.98; 95% CI, 1.71-2.29), more frequent (OR, 7.21; 95% CI, 5.77-9.03) and more severe (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.13-1.21) migraine attacks, lower frequency of nonmigraine headache (OR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.18-0.49), an overall greater response to treatment with triptans (OR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.24-2.24), better improvement of migraine attacks during late pregnancy (OR, 5.10; 95% CI, 2.17-14.00), and faster reappearance of migraine attacks post partum (OR, 3.19; 95% CI, 2.40-4.25). Hormonal contraceptive-related MM was associated with a higher prevalence of migraine without aura than migraine related to spontaneous menstruation (OR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.62-2.06). Otherwise, no differences between hormonal and spontaneous MM were observed. The risk of random diagnostic misclassification of ICHD-3 menstrually related migraine in women with high frequency episodic migraine was 43%. This risk was reduced to 3% when applying the proposed criteria for menstrually related migraine. Conclusions and Relevance: In this case-control study, MM in the general population had clinical characteristics that were quantitively different from those of non-MM. Detailed descriptive data and suggested improved diagnostic criteria for pure MM and menstrually related migraine were provided.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJAMA network open
Pages (from-to)e2313235
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

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