Conference Coverage

Migraine associated with more severe disability in patients with MS



In a cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis, a history of migraine was associated with more severe disability and significantly slower walking speeds, researchers reported at the meeting held by the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.

Anne M. Damian, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore

Dr. Anne M. Damian

“Traditional migraine risk factors such as obesity, anxiety, and depression were also overrepresented in our cohort” of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and migraine, said Anne M. Damian, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and her research colleagues.

Migraine is common in patients with MS, but whether migraine plays a role in MS disease course or MS symptom severity is unknown. Dr. Damian and her colleagues conducted an observational study to examine the associations between migraine history, disability, and neurologic function in patients with MS and whether migraine tends to occur with other comorbid conditions in MS.

They analyzed data from 289 patients (79% female; mean age, 49.2 years) patients with MS who completed the Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test (MSPT), an iPad version of the MS Functional Composite. MS outcome measures included disability (such as the Patient Determined Disease Steps) and objective neurologic outcomes (such as walking speed, manual dexterity, and processing speed). Patients also completed a questionnaire about comorbidities, including history of physician-diagnosed migraine, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, sleep apnea, depression, and anxiety.

The researchers used generalized linear models adjusted for age, sex, MS subtype, MS duration, years of education, and body mass index to evaluate the association between history of migraine and MS outcomes.

Compared with patients with MS without migraine, migraineurs (n = 65) tended to be younger (mean age, 44.3 years vs. 50.4 years) and were more likely to be overweight or obese (73.9% vs. 51.6%). In addition, patients with MS and migraine were more likely to have a history of depression (46.2% vs. 24.2%), anxiety (30.8% vs. 18.8%), and severe rather than mild disability (odds ratio, 3.08; 95% confidence, 1.04-9.20). Migraine also was associated with significantly slower walking speeds (9.08% slower; 95% CI, 0.82%-18.77%). Migraine was not associated with processing speed or manual dexterity, however.

If an association between migraine history and worse MS disability is confirmed, migraine history may be a factor that neurologists could consider when making MS treatment decisions, Dr. Damian said. The researchers noted that migraine was reported by patients and not detected using a validated questionnaire. Future studies should investigate whether MS lesions on MRI differ in migraineurs and whether migraine predicts future neurologic disability in patients with MS.

Collection of the MSPT outcomes was sponsored by Biogen.

SOURCE: Damian AM et al. ACTRIMS Forum 2019, Abstract 78.

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