AbstractBackground and aimsPsychiatric disorders, e.g., depression, are often comorbid with, and can complicate the treatment of, patients with migraine headache. Although empirical work has increasingly focused on the association between migraine and bipolar disorder, this topic has received little attention in the pain literature. Bipolar disorder is a chronic and recurrent mood disorder characterized by cyclic occurrence of elevated (i.e., manic or hypomanic) and depressed mood states. Bipolar I disorder is diagnosed when patients present with at least one abnormally and persistently elevated manic episode; bipolar II disorder is characterized by the presence of hypomanic episodes. Bipolar disorder warrants attention as depressive phases of the disorder can prevail and are often misconstrued by the unwary clinician as unipolar depression. However, treatment for bipolar disorder is distinct from that of unipolar depression and use of antidepressants, which are often invoked in migraine prophylaxis as well as the treatment of depression, may precipitate significant mood changes among bipolar disorder patients. A systematic review of the literature addressing the co-occurrence of bipolar disorder and migraine was conducted. The treatment of dually affected patients is also discussed.MethodsIn order to review the literature to date on migraine and bipolar disorder co-occurrence, a comprehensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and CINAHL for clinic-based and epidemiological studies was conducted using terms related to migraine and bipolar disorder. Studies were selected for review if they included subjects meeting validated diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder as well as migraine headache and if a quantitative description of prevalence rates of comorbid bipolar disorder and migraine were reported. Weighted means of the prevalence rates were calculated to compare with general epidemiological prevalence trends for migraine and bipolar disorder, respectively.ResultsEleven studies met inclusion criteria. Although findings were constrained by methodological limitations and several low quality studies, clinic- and epidemiological cross-sectional investigations demonstrated a high rate of comorbidity between bipolar disorder and migraine. The weighted mean prevalence rate for migraine headache among bipolar disorder patients was 30.7%; for bipolar disorder among migraineurs, the weighted mean prevalence rates were 9% and 5.9% in clinic-based and epidemiological studies, respectively. The association between bipolar disorder and migraine was most notable among women and patients with the bipolar II disorder subtype.ConclusionsHigh rates of comorbidity exist between migraine and bipolar disorder, exceeding estimated prevalence rates for those conditions in the general population. Comorbidity may portend a more serious clinical course for dually afflicted individuals.ImplicationsClinicians need to structure treatment approaches to address concurrent migraine and bipolar disorder in dually afflicted individuals. Although further evidence-based investigation is warranted to inform optimal treatment approaches for both conditions concurrently, anticonvulsants (e.g., valproate, lamotrigine and topiramate); atypical antipsychotics (e.g., olanzapine or quetiapine); and calcium channel blockers (e.g., verapamil) may be considered.
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Apr 1, 2016
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