Chronic Daily Headache: Correlation Between the 2004 and the 1988 International Headache Society Diagnostic Criteria


  • Marcelo E. Bigal MD, PhD,

  • Stewart J. Tepper MD,

  • Fred D. Sheftell MD,

  • Alan M. Rapoport MD,

  • Richard B. Lipton MD

  • From the Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Dr. Bigal); The New England Center for Headache (Drs. Bigal, Tepper, Rapoport, and Sheftell); Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (Dr. Tepper); Department of Neurology, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY (Dr. Rapoport); Department of Psychiatry, New York Medical College, NY (Dr. Sheftell); Department of Neurology, Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Dr. Lipton).


Background.—In a previous study, we compared the 1988 International Headache Society (IHS) criteria and the Silberstein-Lipton criteria (S-L) in a subspeciality clinic sample of 638 patients with chronic daily headache (CDH) assessed both clinically and with headache diaries. Both systems allowed for the classification of most patients with CDH. The 1988 IHS classification required multiple diagnoses and was more complex to apply.

Objectives.—The aim of this study was to revisit the same database, now comparing the prior classification systems with the new 2004 IHS classification. In contrast with the 1st edition, the 2nd edition includes criteria for chronic migraine (CM), new daily persistent headache (NDPH), and hemicrania continua (HC).

Methods.—We reviewed the clinical records and the headache diaries of 638 patients seen between 1980 and 2001 at a headache center. All patients had primary CDH according to the S-L criteria.

Results.—Using the S-L criteria as a reference, of the 158 patients with transformed migraine (TM) without medication overuse, just 9 (5.6%) met 2004 IHS criteria for CM. Most of the subjects were classified using combinations of migraine and CTTH diagnoses, much like the 1988 IHS classification. Similarly, using the new IHS system, just 41/399 (10.2%) subjects with TM with medication overuse were classified as probable CM with probable medication overuse. Most patients with NDPH without overuse were easily classified using the 2004 criteria (95.8%). Regarding NDPH with medication overuse, the diagnostic groups were much like results for the 1st edition. All patients with chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) and hemicrania continua (HC) according to the S-L system were easily classified using the 2004 IHS criteria.

Conclusions.—We conclude that the 2004 IHS criteria facilitate the classification of NDPH without medication overuse and HC. For subjects with TM according to the S-L system, the new IHS criteria are complex to use and require multiple diagnoses. Very few patients with TM in the S-L system could be classified with a single diagnosis in the 2004 IHS classification. In fact, CM was so rare that it would be virtually impossible to conduct clinical trials of this entity using the 2004 IHS criteria. Clinical trials of this entity should therefore be conducted using the S-L criteria. Finally, we propose that in the 3rd edition of the IHS classification, the diagnosis of NDPH be revised so as not to exclude migraine features.