High-Frequency Episodic Migraine is Similar to Chronic Migraine
Last updated: September 2023
“The emotional and functional impact in high-frequency episodic patients could be as disabling as in those with chronic migraine.” This comes from a study just published in the journal Cephalalgia this spring. Researchers looked at the somewhat arbitrary division of migraine into chronic and episodic and found high-frequency episodic migraine has more in common with chronic migraine than it does with low-frequency episodic migraine.
Low- versus high-frequency episodic migraine
The study looked at charts of 855 people with episodic migraine and 254 with chronic migraine. The group with episodic migraine were split into two categories based on headache frequency:
- Low-frequency episodic migraine was 1-9 headache days a month.
- High-frequency was 10-14 headache days a month.
(Patients usually talk about migraine days, but researchers use headache days. It is partly because it includes all headaches a person has in a month, whether or not the headache is obviously part of a migraine attack.)What were the research results? Researchers found:Migraine attack characteristics in high-frequency episodic migraine have more in common with chronic migraine than low-frequency episodic migraine.Levels of physical and emotional disability are similar in people with high-frequency episodic migraine and chronic migraine.Treatments that are currently reserved for chronic migraine, like Botox, should be available to people with high-frequency episodic migraine.This particular study classified migraine frequency in three categories: low- and high-frequency episodic migraine and chronic migraine.
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