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High caffeine intake tied to migraine headaches

19 Sep 2019

High levels of caffeine intake may be a trigger of same-day migraine headaches, a recent study has found.

Researchers performed a prospective cohort study including 98 adults (mean age, 35.1±12.1 years; 86 females), who completed 6 weeks of electronic migraine diaries during mornings and evenings. Among the reported information were intake of caffeinated beverages, the timing and characteristics of each migraine headache, and other pertinent lifestyle factors.

Twenty percent of the participants reported typically no caffeine consumption at baseline, while majority (66 percent) took 1–2 servings per day; 12 percent consumed 3–4 servings of caffeinated beverages per day. The mean consumption was 7.9±5.6 servings per week. A total of 825 headache episodes were reported during 4,467 days of observation.

There was a significant and nonlinear correlation between the intake of caffeinated beverages and the risk of having migraine headaches on the same day (p-quadratic=0.024).

Particularly, consuming three (odds ratio [OR], 1.40, 95 percent CI, 0.89–2.22), four (OR, 1.41, 0.66–3.00) and five (OR, 2.61, 0.97–7.05) servings nominally increased the risk of migraines on the same day, while intake of 2 servings or less had the opposite effect.

The same pattern was reported for following-day migraine headache occurrence, such that only the consumption levels 3 servings resulted in nominal increases in risk.

Future studies are needed to determine the effect of caffeine on the onset of headache symptoms in subsequent hours, and to identify the potential effects of other relevant variables such as sleep, anxiety and environmental factors.

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