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Can cigarette smoking worsen the clinical course of cluster headache?

The Journal of Headache and Pain
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1129-2377-14-s1-p54
  • Poster Presentation
  • Medicine


Can cigarette smoking worsen the clinical course of cluster headache? POSTER PRESENTATION Open Access Can cigarette smoking worsen the clinical course of cluster headache? I Tiraferri*, F Righi, M Zappaterra, M Ciccarese, LA Pini, A Ferrari, MM Cainazzo From The European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress London, UK. 20-23 September 2012 Introduction Up to 90% of cluster headache (CH) patients have a pro- longed history of cigarette smoking prior to the headache onset. It has been suggested a genetic link between CH and nicotine addiction and, also, that toxic agents found in cigarette smoke have a direct effect on the hypothalamus, a pivotal area for the pathogenesis of CH. [1-3] Purpose To explore the relationship between cigarette smoking and the clinical course of cluster headache. Methods All outpatients with cluster headache, diagnosed according to the criteria of ICHD-II, who were, consecutively, seen from October 2010 to April 2012 at the Headache Centre, were subjected to a phone interview by means a specific standardized questionnaire (29 items), administered, always, by the same trained post-graduate medical doctor. Results A total of 200 patients were surveyed (172 male, 28 female; mean age ± SD: 48.4 ± 12.7; male/female ratio: 6.1:1). One hundred and twenty patients were current smokers, 42 former smokers and 38 non-smokers. The age of onset of CH was 29.8 ±13.6 years. Among all smokers and former smokers those who started smoking before age of 18 years had an onset of cluster headache earlier than those who started smoking after age of 18 years (P < .01, Student’s t test). All patients with chronic cluster headache were cur- rently smokers. The episodic form (89%) was more frequent than the chronic one (11%). Chronic CH patients smoked more cigarettes per day (P < .01, Student’s t test) and started smoking before (P < .01, Student’s t test) than patients with episodic CH (P = .001, Student’s t test). The length of the active phase of CH was t

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