Yet another thing to look forward to
Interferon treatment may trigger primary headaches in multiple sclerosis patients.
La Mantia L, D'Amico D, Rigamonti A, Mascoli N, Bussone G, Milanese C.
MS Center, C. Besta National Neurological Institute, Milan, 20133, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent data have suggested that interferon-beta (IFN-beta) may aggravate headaches in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the life-time prevalence of primary headaches in MS patients treated with interferons in comparison with patients treated with other disease-modifying agents. Attention was focused on the onset of headache and the changes in pre-existing headaches in relation to the onset of therapy. The study was open-labelled and not randomized. We studied 150 consecutive MS patients treated with IFN-beta (109 patients: 54 with 1b, 55 with 1a) and with other drugs (41 patients: 14 with glatiramer acetate, 27 with azathioprine). All patients underwent a semi-structured interview to diagnose headache type, according to the International Headache Society criteria. The frequency of primary headaches was higher in the interferon-group (72%) compared to patients in the other group (54%) (P=0.03). Worsening of pre-existing headaches or development of de novo headache occurred only in the interferon-group (41 and 48%, respectively) and not in the other group (P<0.001). These results show that headache should be considered among the side-effects of interferon in MS patients.
PMID: 16900761 [PubMed - in process]