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Concept: Headache


Vitamin D has been suggested to have a role in various neurovascular diseases, but the data regarding headache is inconclusive. Our aim was to investigate the associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], a marker for vitamin D status, and risk of frequent headache. The study population consisted of 2601 men from the population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) from eastern Finland, aged 42-60 years in 1984-1989. The cross-sectional associations with prevalence of self-reported frequent headache (defined as weekly or daily headaches) were estimated with multivariable-adjusted odds ratios. The average serum 25(OH) concentration was 43.4 nmol/L (SD 18.9, min-max 7.8-136.1 nmol/L). A total of 250 men (9.6%) reported frequent headache. The average serum 25(OH)D concentration among those with frequent headache was 38.3 nmol/L (SD 18.8) and 43.9 nmol/L (SD 18.9) among those without frequent headache, after adjustment for age and year and month of blood draw (P for difference <0.001). After multivariable adjustments, those in the lowest vs. the highest serum 25(OH)D quartile had 113% (95% CI 42, 218%; P for trend <0.001) higher odds for frequent headache. In conclusion, low serum 25(OH)D concentration was associated with markedly higher risk of frequent headache in men.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Epidemiology, Disease, Hypertension, Medical statistics, Ischemia, Headache, Ischaemic heart disease


There is increasing interest in using neurostimulation to treat headache disorders. There are now several non-invasive and invasive stimulation devices available with some open-label series and small controlled trial studies that support their use. Non-invasive stimulation options include supraorbital stimulation (Cefaly), vagus nerve stimulation (gammaCore) and single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (SpringTMS). Invasive procedures include occipital nerve stimulation, sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation and ventral tegmental area deep brain stimulation. These stimulation devices may find a place in the treatment pathway of headache disorders. Here, we explore the basic principles of neurostimulation for headache and overview the available methods of neurostimulation.

Concepts: Deep brain stimulation, Vagus nerve, Vagus nerve stimulation, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Headache, Headaches, Neurotechnology


Cluster headache (CH) is a disabling primary headache disorder characterized by severe periorbital pain. A subset of patients does not respond to established pharmacological therapy. This study examines outcomes of a cohort of mainly chronic CH patients treated with sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) stimulation.

Concepts: Medicine, Mental disorder, Headache, Headaches, Cluster headache, Neurological disorders, Hemicrania continua


BackgroundHeadache associated with sexual activity is a well-known primary headache disorder. In contrast, some case reports in the literature suggest that sexual activity during a migraine or cluster headache attack might relieve the pain in at least some patients. We performed an observational study among patients of a tertiary headache clinic.MethodsA questionnaire was sent to 800 unselected migraine patients and 200 unselected cluster headache patients. We asked for experience with sexual activity during a headache attack and its impact on headache intensity. The survey was strictly and completely anonymous.ResultsIn total, 38% of the migraine patients and 48% of the patients with cluster headache responded. In migraine, 34% of the patients had experience with sexual activity during an attack; out of these patients, 60% reported an improvement of their migraine attack (70% of them reported moderate to complete relief) and 33% reported worsening. In cluster headache, 31% of the patients had experience with sexual activity during an attack; out of these patients, 37% reported an improvement of their cluster headache attack (91% of them reported moderate to complete relief) and 50% reported worsening. Some patients, in particular male migraine patients, even used sexual activity as a therapeutic tool.ConclusionsThe majority of patients with migraine or cluster headache do not have sexual activity during headache attacks. Our data suggest, however, that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some migraine and a few cluster headache patients.

Concepts: Scientific method, Paracetamol, Attack, Headache, Headaches, Cluster headache, Neurological disorders, Hemicrania continua


BACKGROUND: Migraine is one of the most common health problems for children and adolescents. If not successfully treated, it can impact patients and families with significant disability due to loss of school, work, and social function. When headaches become frequent, it is essential to try to prevent the headaches. For children and adolescents, this is guided by extrapolation from adult studies, a limited number of small studies in children and adolescents and practitioner preference. The aim of the Childhood and Adolescent Migraine Prevention (CHAMP) study is to determine the most effective preventive agent to use in children and adolescents. METHODS: CHAMP is a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multicenter, comparative effectiveness study of amitriptyline and topiramate for the prevention of episodic and chronic migraine, designed to mirror real-world practice, sponsored by the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/National Institutes of Health (U01NS076788). The study will recruit 675 subjects between the ages of 8 and 17 years old, inclusive, who have migraine with or without aura or chronic migraine as defined by the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition, with at least 4 headaches in the 28 days prior to randomization. The subjects will be randomized in a 2:2:1 (amitriptyline: topiramate: placebo) ratio. Doses are weight based and will be slowly titrated over an 8-week period to a target dose of 1 mg/kg of amitriptyline and 2 mg/kg of topiramate. The primary outcome will be a 50% reduction in headache frequency between the 28-day baseline and the final 28 days of treatment (weeks 20-24). CONCLUSIONS: The goal of the CHAMP study is to obtain level 1 evidence for the effectiveness of amitriptyline and topiramate in the prevention of migraine in children and adolescents. If this study proves to be positive, it will provide information to the practicing physician as how to best prevent migraine in children and adolescents and subsequently improve the disability and outcomes.

Concepts: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Paracetamol, Epilepsy, Acupuncture, Headache, Headaches, International Classification of Headache Disorders, Neurological disorders


A 39-year-old white man presented with intractable headaches and papilledema. The initial workup, with normal MRI and MRV but elevated cerebrospinal fluid protein raised concerns about the putative diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and his condition remained refractory to maximum medical treatment. Angiography revealed cerebral venous sinus stenosis, thought to represent chronic thrombosis. The diagnosis and treatment of cerebral venous sinus stenosis and thrombosis are discussed.

Concepts: Intracranial pressure, Neurology, Cerebrospinal fluid, Hydrocephalus, Meningitis, Headache, Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Dural venous sinuses


BACKGROUND: Spontaneous intracranial hypotension has become a well-recognized cause of headaches and a wide variety of other manifestations have been reported. Recently, several patients with asymptomatic spontaneous intracranial hypotension were reported. I now report two patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension who developed multiple arterial strokes associated with death in one patient, illustrating the spectrum of disease severity in spontaneous intracranial hypotension. METHODS: Medical records and radiologic imaging of the two patients were reviewed. RESULTS: Case 1. A 45-year-old man presented with an orthostatic headache. Neurologic examination was normal. MRI showed bilateral subdural fluid collections, brain sagging, and pachymeningeal enhancement. At lumbar puncture, the opening pressure was too low to record. He underwent two epidural blood patches with transient improvement of symptoms. His headaches progressed and a CT-myelogram showed a lower cervical CSF leak. Subsequently, periodic lethargy and confusion was noted and he then rapidly deteriorated. Examination showed coma (GCS: 4 [E1, M2, V1]), a fixed and dilated right pupil, and decerebrate posturing. Bilateral craniotomies were performed for the evacuation of chronic subdural hematomas. Immediate postoperative CT showed bilateral posterior cerebral artery infarcts and a recurrent right subdural hematoma, requiring re-evacuation. Postoperative examination was consistent with brain death and support was withdrawn.  Case 2. A 42-year-old man presented with a non-positional headache. Neurologic examination was normal. CT showed bilateral acute on chronic subdural hematomas and effacement of the basilar cisterns. MRI showed brain sagging, bilateral subdural hematomas, and pachymeningeal enhancement. Bilateral craniotomies were performed and subdural hematomas were evacuated. Postoperatively, the patient became progressively lethargic (GCS: 8 [E2, M4, V2]) and variable degrees of pupillary asymmetry and quadriparesis were noted. MRI now also showed multiple areas of restricted diffusion in the pons and midbrain, consistent with multiple infarcts. CT showed worsening subdural fluid collections with midline shift and increased effacement of the basilar cisterns. Repeat bilateral craniotomies were performed for evacuation of the subdural fluid collections. Neurologic examination was then noted to be fluctuating but clearly improved when lying flat (GCS: 10T [E4, M6, VT]). CT-myelography demonstrated an extensive cervico-thoracic CSF leak. An epidural blood patch was performed. The patient made a good, but incomplete, recovery with residual quadriparesis and dysphagia. CONCLUSIONS: Arterial cerebral infarcts are rare, but potentially life-threatening complications of spontaneous intracranial hypotension. The strokes are due to downward displacement of the brain and can be precipitated by craniotomy for evacuation of associated subdural hematomas.

Concepts: Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Neurology, Subdural hematoma, Hematoma, Headache, Lumbar puncture, Spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak


As a general observation, wet hair in cold weather seems to be a predisposing factor for sinus headache and posterior eye pain. We offer a mechanism through selective brain cooling system for this observation. Selective brain cooling (SBC) is a mechanism to protect brain from hyperthermia. Components of SBC are head skin and upper respiratory tract (nose and paranasal sinuses). Cool venous blood from head skin and mucous membranes of nose and paranasal sinuses drains to intracranial dural sinuses and provide brain cooling. Brain will be cooled very much when head skin exposes to hypothermia such a condition like wet hair in cold weather. We suggest that, in order to reduce brain cooling activity, some alterations are being occurred within paranasal sinuses. For this purpose, sinus ostiums may close and mucus may accumulate to reduce air within sinuses. Also there may be some vasomotor changes to prevent heat loss. We hypothesize that this possible alterations may occur within paranasal sinuses as a control mechanism for brain temperature control during exposure of head skin to hypothermia. Paranasal sinuses may also cool brain directly by a very thin layer of bone separates the posterior ethmoid air sinus from the subarachnoid space and only thin plates of bone separate the sphenoidal sinuses from internal carotid artery and cavernous sinuses. Because of their critical role in the SBC, posterior ethmoid air sinus and sphenoidal sinuses may be affected from this alterations more than other paranasal sinuses. This situation may cause posterior eye pain. This mechanism can explain why a person who expose to hypothermia with wet hair or a person who don’t use a beret or a hat during cold weather gets sinus headache and posterior eye pain. These symptoms could lead to an incorrect diagnosis of sinusitis.

Concepts: Sinusitis, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Respiratory system, Cerebrospinal fluid, Mucus, Upper respiratory tract infection, Headache


Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a racemic 4-aminoquinoline derivative that was first introduced as an antimalarial, and subsequently applied to the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Information on the pharmacokinetics of HCQ in healthy volunteers, especially in a Chinese population is limited, and this study was conducted to provide support for a generic product to obtain marketing authorization in China.The aim of the present study was to compare the pharmacokinetics and assess bioequivalence of a new generic test and the branded reference hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets in healthy volunteers.This was a parallel, open-label, randomized, single-dose, 1-period fasting study. 54 healthy subjects were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive 200 mg hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets of the test or the reference formulation. 15 blood samples were collected and whole blood concentrations of HCQ were determined by a validated liquid chromatography-isotopic dilution mass spectrometry method. Log-transformed Cmax and AUC0-24 values were used to test for bioequivalence. The 2 formulations were considered bioequivalent if 90% confidence intervals (CIs) for the log-transformed ratios of Cmax and AUC0-24 were within the predetermined bioequivalence range of 80-125%. Tolerability was evaluated throughout the study by vital signs, physical examinations, clinical laboratory tests, 12-lead electrocardiograms, and interviews with the subjects about adverse events.54 healthy subjects were enrolled and completed the study (mean [SD] age, height, body weight, and BMI were 23.9 [2.4] years, 168.9 [5.0] cm, 61.3 [5.4] kg, and 21.5 [1.7] kg/m2), 27 subjects per group. No formulation or sequence effects were observed. The mean values of Cmax and AUC0-24 for the test and reference formulations of HCQ (197.6 and 199.0 ng/mL, 2460.1 and 2468.3 ng/mL/h) were not significantly different. The 90% CIs of the ratios of Cmax and AUC0-24 were 99.3% (98.1-102.1%), 99.7% (98.9-101.4%), respectively. 4 subjects (7.41%) experienced a total of 4 mild AEs (headache and microscopic hematuria, 1 each; and increase in plasma triglycerides, 2).The results of this study suggest that the test and reference hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets are bioequivalent. Both formulations were generally well tolerated.

Concepts: Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Autoimmune diseases, Arthritis, Generic drug, Headache


Headache, a nearly universal experience, remains costly, disabling, and often suboptimally managed. The most common presentations in the United States are migraine, tension-type headache (TTH) and “sinus” headache, but their extensive symptomatic overlap suggests that these conditions can be approached as variations in the same underlying pathology and managed accordingly. We use case studies of patients with varying prior diagnoses (none, migraine, TTH, and sinus headache), as well as a 4-question diagnostic screening tool, to illustrate how pharmacists can use this conceptual framework to simplify identification, management, and referral of patients with primary headache conditions of uncertain etiology.

Concepts: Medical terms, United States, Sinusitis, Classification of Pharmaco-Therapeutic Referrals, English language, Meningitis, Headache, Headaches