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Cephalalgia. 2012 Apr;32(5):390-400. doi: 10.1177/0333102411436333. Epub 2012 Mar 9.

Psychiatric comorbidity and response to preventative therapy in the treatment of severe migraine trial.

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  • 1Ohio University, USA.



Mood and anxiety disorders are comorbid with migraine and commonly assumed to portend a poor response to preventive migraine therapies. However, there is little evidence to support this assumption.


We examined impact of a mood and/or anxiety disorder diagnosis using American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual criteria on response to the three preventative migraine therapies evaluated in the Treatment of Severe Migraine trial (n = 177): β-blocker, behavioral migraine management, or behavioral migraine management +β-blocker. Daily diaries assessed migraine activity for the 16 months of the trial. The Migraine Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire and Headache Disability Inventory assessed headache-related disability at regular intervals. Mixed models for repeated measures examined changes in these three outcomes with preventative migraine therapy in participants with and without a mood or anxiety disorder diagnosis.


Participants with a comorbid mood or anxiety disorder diagnosis recorded larger reductions in migraine days (p < .05) and larger reductions in the Migraine Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (p < .001) and Headache Disability Inventory (p < .01) than did participants with neither diagnosis.


Significantly larger reductions in migraine activity and migraine-related disability were observed in participants with a mood and/or anxiety disorder diagnosis than in participants who did not receive either diagnosis.

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