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The Ambiguous Role of Caffeine in Migraine Headache: From Trigger to Treatment

1
Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Laryngological Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Ludwik Rydygier Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University, M. Curie 9, 85-090 Bydgoszcz, Poland
2
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University, M. Curie 9, 85-090 Bydgoszcz, Poland
3
Department of Sensory Organs Examination, Faculty of Health Sciences, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University, M. Curie 9, 85-090 Bydgoszcz, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2259; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082259
Received: 7 July 2020 / Revised: 25 July 2020 / Accepted: 26 July 2020 / Published: 28 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coffee and Caffeine Consumption for Human Health)
Migraine is a chronic disorder, and caffeine has been linked with migraine for many years, on the one hand as a trigger, and on the other hand as a cure. As most of the population, including migraineurs, consume a considerable amount of caffeine daily, a question arises as to whether it influences their headaches. Indeed, drinking coffee before a migraine attack may not be a real headache trigger, but a consequence of premonitory symptoms, including yawning, diminished energy levels, and sleepiness that may herald a headache. Here, we aim to summarize the available evidence on the relationship between caffeine and migraines. Articles concerning this topic published up to June 2020 were retrieved by searching clinical databases, and all types of studies were included. We identified 21 studies investigating the prevalence of caffeine/caffeine withdrawal as a migraine trigger and 7 studies evaluating caffeine in acute migraine treatment. Among them, in 17 studies, caffeine/caffeine withdrawal was found to be a migraine trigger in a small percentage of participants (ranging from 2% to 30%), while all treatment studies found caffeine to be safe and effective in acute migraine treatment, mostly in combination with other analgesics. Overall, based on our review of the current literature, there is insufficient evidence to recommend caffeine cessation to all migraine patients, but it should be highlighted that caffeine overuse may lead to migraine chronification, and sudden caffeine withdrawal may trigger migraine attacks. Migraine sufferers should be aware of the amount of caffeine they consume and not exceed 200 mg daily. If they wish to continue drinking caffeinated beverages, they should keep their daily intake as consistent as possible to avoid withdrawal headache. View Full-Text
Keywords: migraine; headache; caffeine; coffee; trigger; withdrawal headache; adenosine; vasoconstriction; cerebral blood flow migraine; headache; caffeine; coffee; trigger; withdrawal headache; adenosine; vasoconstriction; cerebral blood flow
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nowaczewska, M.; Wiciński, M.; Kaźmierczak, W. The Ambiguous Role of Caffeine in Migraine Headache: From Trigger to Treatment. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2259. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082259

AMA Style

Nowaczewska M, Wiciński M, Kaźmierczak W. The Ambiguous Role of Caffeine in Migraine Headache: From Trigger to Treatment. Nutrients. 2020; 12(8):2259. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082259

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nowaczewska, Magdalena; Wiciński, Michał; Kaźmierczak, Wojciech. 2020. "The Ambiguous Role of Caffeine in Migraine Headache: From Trigger to Treatment" Nutrients 12, no. 8: 2259. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082259

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