SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • multiple sclerosis;
  • headache;
  • migraine;
  • interferon beta;
  • anti-aquaporin-4 antibody

Background.— Headache is common in Western patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), but its frequency has not been reported in Asian patients. In Asians, the opticospinal form of MS, showing similar characteristics to relapsing neuromyelitis optica in Westerners, is regarded as a different subtype from conventional MS.

Objectives.— The aim of this study was to clarify the frequency of primary and chronic secondary headaches in Japanese patients with MS and the factors associated with the emergence of such headaches.

Methods.— We investigated 127 consecutive patients with clinically definite MS. Frequencies of primary and chronic secondary headaches were compared according to clinical subtype, administration of interferon beta, and anti-aquaporin-4 antibody status.

Results.— The frequency of patients with primary and chronic secondary headaches at the time of interview was 64/127 (50.4%); the frequency of migraine was 26/127 (20.4%) and that of tension-type headache was 38/127 (29.9%). The frequencies of patients with primary and chronic secondary headaches and migraine without aura after the onset of MS were higher in patients undergoing interferon beta therapy than in those not on the therapy (42.4% vs 23.4%, P < .05 and 15.1% vs 4.3%, P = .05, respectively). There were no significant differences in the frequency of primary and chronic secondary headaches based on clinical subtype of MS. However, among patients not receiving interferon beta, the occurrence of migraine with aura after the onset of MS was significantly higher in patients with anti-aquaporin-4 antibody than in patients without the antibody (13.3% vs 0.0%, P < .05).

Conclusions.— In Japanese patients with MS, the frequency of primary and chronic secondary headaches, especially migraine, was higher than in the general Japanese population. Administration of interferon beta was related to a higher frequency of primary and chronic secondary headaches, especially migraine without aura, irrespective of clinical subtype of MS.