Migraine and Meniere's Disease
Migraine and Meniere’s disease – is there a link ?
Neurological researchers based in Berlin (Germany) and London (UK) have sought to determine the lifetime prevalence of migraine in patients with Meniere’s Disease (an incapacitating condition that is usually characterised by episodic attacks of vertigo or dizziness, fluctuating, progressive, low-frequency hearing loss, tinnitus, and a sensation of “fullness” or “pressure in the ear”). A possible link between Meniere’s disease and migraine was originally suggested by Prosper Meniere (1799-1862); subsequent studies have produced conflicting results.
The researchers studied 78 patients (40 women, 38 men); age range 29 to 81 years, with idiopathic (meaning the cause is unknown) unilateral or bilateral (one or both sides) Meniere’s disease. Diagnosis of migraine with and without aura was made via telephone interviewed according to the criteria of the International Headache Society. Additional information was obtained concerning the concurrence of vertigo and migrainous symptoms during Meniere attacks. The authors interviewed sex- and age-matched orthopedic patients as controls.
Results showed that the lifetime prevalence of migraine with and without aura was higher in the Meniere’s disease group (56%) compared to controls (25%). 45% of the patients with Meniere’s disease always experienced at least one migrainous symptom (migrainous headache, photophobia, aura symptoms) with Meniere attacks.
The authors concluded that the lifetime prevalence of migraine is increased in patients with Meniere’s disease when strict diagnostic criteria for both are applied. The frequent occurrence of migrainous symptoms during Meniere attacks suggests a pathophysiologic link between the two diseases. Alternatively, because migraine is itself a frequent cause of audio-vestibular symptoms current diagnostic criteria may not differentiate between Meniere’s disease and migrainous vertigo.