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Cephalalgia. 1992 Apr;12(2):99-100.

Weekend attacks in migraine patients: caused by caffeine withdrawal?

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Princess Margaret Migraine Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK.


The principal reasons for a predominantly weekend incidence of migraine attacks are likely to be social or psychological in origin. There may be another factor. This study examines the use, and more importantly the way of use, of caffeine containing substances. We collected data by questionnaire from 151 consecutive Migraine Clinic patients with the diagnosis of migraine or tension type headache. Of the whole group, 21.9% claimed to have weekend attacks, with relatively more males than females. The males amongst these were all migraine patients, but 23% of the women suffered from tension-type headache. Patients with both a high daily caffeine intake and excessively delayed wakening at weekends (each defined as greater than the mean for the whole group) had a 69% risk of weekend headache. This compared with 4% in patients exceeding the mean in one only, and zero in those with moderate habits in both. These results support the idea that weekend attacks are linked to caffeine withdrawal. Sleeping in is not on its own a significant cause. We suggest that this possibility should be considered in clinical management of affected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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