Peri-Ictal Headache in Children: Prevalence and Character

Shayne Cai, Lorie D. Hamiwka, Elaine C. Wirrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Structured interviews regarding peri-ictal headaches and personal or family histories of interictal headaches were conducted on 101 children (aged 5-18 years), with generalized tonic-clonic or partial seizures. Epilepsy-specific details were collected by interviews and reviews of neurology clinic charts. Peri-ictal headaches were reported by 41% (29%, postictal only; 5%, preictal only; 7%, both). Clear migrainous features were present in 50% of preictal and 58% of postictal headaches. Most children described bilateral headaches. No demographic or epilepsy-specific correlates were identified that predicted peri-ictal headaches. Interictal headaches occurred in 24%, with 14% of children meeting criteria for migraines. However, neither interictal migraines nor a positive family history of migraines was significantly predictive of either peri-ictal headaches or migrainous peri-ictal headaches. Postictal headaches occurred reliably after most seizures in predisposed children, and interrupted activities in the majority. Whereas only half of children received abortive medications for these headaches, simple analgesics were effective in most cases. We conclude that peri-ictal headaches are common, affecting 41% of children with epilepsy. Their presence should be routinely queried, and if documented, treatment with simple analgesics appears beneficial and should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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