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Keywords:

  • systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • migraine;
  • Raynaud;
  • antiphospholipid antibodies

Objective.—To determine the prevalence of migraine in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and to examine the relationships between headache type and other clinical, serologic, and treatment features of the disease.

Background.—Headaches are common in SLE and are a significant source of patient disability. The exact prevalence of headaches in patients with SLE is unknown. The classification of headache syndromes in SLE is also unclear. Previous studies were based on small numbers of patients and the headache types and criteria to define headache types varied widely.

Methods.—Four hundred fourteen patients meeting American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of SLE were sent the University of California, San Diego Migraine Questionnaire. Patients who completed the questionnaire had their medical records reviewed for constitutional, respiratory, cardiac, vascular, skin, musculoskeletal, other neuropsychiatric, hematologic, renal, and immunologic manifestations of the disease. Recent corticosteroid, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, antimalarial, and immunosuppressive medications were also recorded.

Results.—One hundred eighty-six patients completed the questionnaire. Sixty-two percent of patients reported headaches: 39% met diagnostic criteria for migraine and 23% met criteria for nonmigrainous headache. Of the patients with migraine, 56% met criteria for migraine without aura and 44% met criteria for migraine with aura. There were no significant associations between headache type and other clinical, serologic, or treatment features of the disease.

Conclusions.—There is a high prevalence of migraine in patients with SLE, and patients should be routinely evaluated for migraine symptoms.