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Migraine and risk of stroke
  1. Lise R Øie1,2,
  2. Tobias Kurth3,
  3. Sasha Gulati2,4,
  4. David W Dodick5
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, St. Olavs hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  2. 2 Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
  3. 3 Institute of Public Health, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  4. 4 Department of Neurosurgery, St. Olavs hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
  5. 5 Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lise R Øie, Department of Neurology, St Olavs hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim 7006, Norway; lise.r.oie{at}


Migraine and stroke are two common and heterogeneous neurovascular disorders responsible for a significant burden for those affected and a great economic cost for the society. There is growing evidence that migraine increases the overall risk of cerebrovascular diseases. In this review, based on available literature through a PubMed search, we found that ischaemic stroke in people with migraine is strongly associated with migraine with aura, young age, female sex, use of oral contraceptives and smoking habits. The risk of transient ischaemic attack also seems to be increased in people with migraine, although this issue has not been extensively investigated. Although migraine appears to be associated with haemorrhagic stroke, the migraine aura status has a small influence on this relationship. Neuroimaging studies have revealed a higher prevalence of asymptomatic structural brain lesions in people with migraine. They are also more likely to have unfavourable vascular risk factors; however, the increased risk of stroke seems to be more apparent among people with migraine without traditional risk factors. The mechanism behind the migraine-stroke association is unknown. In light of the higher risk of stroke in people with migraine with aura, it is important to identify and modify any vascular risk factor. There is currently no direct evidence to support that a migraine prophylactic treatment can reduce future stroke in people with migraine.

  • migraine
  • stroke

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  • Contributors LRØ and DWD conceived the study, critically reviewed the literature and drafted the manuscript. TK and SG critically reviewed and edited the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests DWD reports the following conflicts: Personal fees: Amgen, AEON, Association of Translational Medicine, University Health Network, Daniel Edelman Inc, Autonomic Technologies, Axsome, Allergan, Alder BioPharmaceuticals, Biohaven, Charleston Laboratories, Clexio, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories/Promius, Electrocore LLC, Eli Lilly, eNeura, Neurolief, Novartis, Ipsen, Impel, Satsuma, Supernus, Sun Pharma (India), Theranica, Teva, Vedanta, WL Gore, Nocira, PSL Group Services, XoC, Zosano, ZP Opco, Foresite Capital, Oppenheimer; Upjohn (Division of Pfizer), Pieris, Revance, Equinox, Salvia, Amzak Health. Speaking fees: Eli Lilly, Novartis Canada, Amgen, Lundbeck. Speakers Bureaus: None. CME fees or royalty payments: HealthLogix, Medicom Worldwide, MedLogix Communications, Mednet, Miller Medical, PeerView, WebMD Health/Medscape, Chameleon, Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning, Universal Meeting Management, Haymarket, Global Scientific Communications, Global Life Sciences, Global Access Meetings, Catamount, UpToDate (Elsevier), Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Wolters Kluwer Health. Stock options: Precon Health, Aural Analytics, Healint, Theranica, Second Opinion/Mobile Health, Epien, Nocira, Matterhorn, Ontologics, King-Devick Technologies. Consulting without fee: Aural Analytics, Healint, Second Opinion/Mobile Health, Epien. Board of Directors: Precon Health, Epien, Matterhorn, Ontologics, King-Devick Technologies. Patent: 17189376.1-1466:vTitle: Botulinum Toxin Dosage Regimen for Chronic Migraine Prophylaxis without fee. Research funding: American Migraine Foundation, US Department of Defense, PCORI, Henry Jackson Foundation. Professional society fees or reimbursement for travel: American Academy of Neurology, American Brain Foundation, American Headache Society, American Migraine Foundation, International Headache Society, Canadian Headache Society.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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