Migraine Headache in Affectively Ill Latino Adults of Mexican American Origin Is Associated With Bipolarity

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Background: The objective of this cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence of migraine headache among depressed Latino adults of Mexican American origin meeting the criteria for bipolar disorder (BPD) or major depressive disorder (MDD) relative to patients in a psychiatric comparison group

Method: In a mental health clinic for the indigent, consecutively and systematically evaluated acutely depressed Latino adults received structured diagnostic psychiatric interviews based on modules extracted from the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. All were asked as part of routine assessment whether they had headaches 'in the last week.' Patients with unilateral, pounding, pulsating headache were classified as having migraine headache. The prevalence of migraine headache among the patients with BPD and MDD was contrasted with that of patients in a psychiatric comparison group composed of patients with disorders other than schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Logistic regression was used to test for associations and control for confounding effects. The data were collected between August 2001 and November 2004.

Results: Eighty-seven patients had BPD and 123 had MDD. Bipolar patients were 2.9 times more likely to have migraine headaches than patients with MDD (P < .0001). There was a trend for patients with MDD to have a higher prevalence of migraine than patients in the psychiatric comparison group.

Conclusions: Bipolar patients had a high prevalence of migraine headache relative to patients with MDD. This study suggests that migraine is linked to bipolarity.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2009;11(6):302-306