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Keywords:

  • epicrania fugax;
  • nummular headache;
  • epicrania

Objective

Epicrania fugax (EF) is a primary headache of recent description. We aimed to report 19 new cases of EF, and thus contribute to the characterization of this emerging headache.

Background

EF is characterized by painful paroxysms starting in a particular area of the head, and rapidly radiating forwards or backwards through the territories of different nerves. The pain is felt in quick motion along a lineal or zigzag trajectory. To date, 47 cases have been published, 34 with forward EF and 13 with backward EF.

Methods

We performed a descriptive study of all EF cases attending our Headache Unit from April 2010 to December 2012. Demographic and clinical data were recorded with a structured questionnaire.

Results

Overall, there were 12 women and 7 men. Mean age at onset was 51.7 ± 16.2. Fourteen patients had forward EF, while 5 patients had backward EF. Painful paroxysms lasted 1-4 seconds. Pain intensity was usually moderate or severe, and pain quality was mostly electric. Four patients had ocular autonomic accompaniments. Pain frequency was extremely variable, and 7 patients identified some triggers. Between attacks, 13 patients had some pain or tenderness in the stemming area. Thirteen patients required therapy for their pain. Neuromodulators, indomethacin, anesthetic blockades, and steroid injections were used in different cases, with partial or complete response.

Conclusion

EF appears as a distinct headache syndrome and could be eventually included in future editions of the International Classification of Headache Disorders.