Background: Headache and epilepsy are two relatively common neurological disorders and their relationship is still a matter of debate. Our aim was to estimate the prevalence and clinical features of inter-ictal (inter-IH) and peri-ictal headache (peri-IH) in patients with epilepsy. Methods: All patients aged ≥ 17 years referring to our tertiary Epilepsy Centre were consecutively recruited from March to May 2011 and from March to July 2012. They underwent a semi-structured interview including the International Classification Headache Disorders (ICHD-II) criteria to diagnose the lifetime occurrence of headache.χ2-test, t-test and Mann–Whitney test were used to compare clinical variables in patients with and without inter-IH and peri-IH. Results: Out of 388 enrolled patients 48.5 % had inter-IH: migraine in 26.3 %, tension-type headache (TTH) in 19.1 %, other primary headaches in 3.1 %. Peri-IH was observed in 23.7 %: pre-ictally in 6.7 %, ictally in 0.8 % and post-ictally in 19.1 %. Comparing patients with inter-ictal migraine (102), inter-ictal TTH (74) and without inter-IH (200), we found that pre-ictal headache (pre-IH) was significantly represented only in migraineurs (OR 3.54, 95 % CI 1.88-6.66, P <0.001). Post-ictal headache (post-IH) was significantly associated with both migraineurs (OR 2.60, 95 % CI 1.85-3.64, P <0.001) and TTH patients (OR 2.05, 95 % CI 1.41-2.98, P <0.001). Moreover, post-IH was significantly associated with antiepileptic polytherapy (P <0.001), high seizure frequency (P = 0.002) and tonic-clonic seizures (P = 0.043). Conclusions: Migraine was the most represented type of headache in patients with epilepsy. Migraineurs are more prone to develop pre-IH, while patients with any inter-IH (migraine or TTH) are predisposed to manifest a post-IH after seizures.
- Post-ictal headache
- Pre-ictal headache
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
- Clinical Neurology