Ictal Epileptic Headache: When Terminology Is Not a Moot Question

Pasquale Parisi, Maria Chiara Paolino, Umberto Raucci, Nicoletta Della Vecchia, Vincenzo Belcastro, Maria Pia Villa, Pasquale Striano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The relationship between headache and epilepsy is complex and despite the nature of this association is not yet clear. In the last few years, it has been progressively introduced the concept of the "ictal epileptic headache" that was included in the recently revised International Classification of Headaches Disorders 3rd edition (ICHD-3-revised). The diagnostic criteria for ictal epileptic headache (IEH) suggested in 2012 were quite restrictive thus leading to the underestimation of this phenomenon. However, these criteria have not yet been included into the ICHD-3 revision published in 2018, thus creating confusion among both, physicians and experts in this field. Here, we highlight the importance to strictly apply the original IEH criteria explaining the reasons through the analysis of the clinical, historical, epidemiological and pathophysiological characteristics of the IEH itself. In addition, we discuss the issues related to the neurophysiopathological link between headache and epilepsy as well as to the classification of these epileptic events as "autonomic seizure."

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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