Chronic migraine: Classification and comparisons

Z. Katsarava, A. Manack, M. S. Yoon, M. Obermann, H. Becker, P. Dommes, C. Turkel, R. B. Lipton, H. C. Diener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of our study was to field test different chronic migraine (CM) criteria and compare CM epidemiological profiles, which include demographic, personal, and lifestyle characteristics, with high-frequency episodic migraine (HFEM) and low-frequency episodic migraine (LFEM). Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to a random sample of 18,000 18-65-year-olds in demographically diverse regions of Germany. The epidemiological data for the three classifications of CM, LFEM and HFEM were assessed using descriptive statistics, Pearson Chi-square, and analysis of variance tests. Results: Among 9350 respondents, CM-I was the most restrictive (N = 37, 0.4%), followed by CM-II (N = 45, 0.5%) and CM-III (N = 185, 2.0%). CM groups did not differ in distribution by age, gender, body mass index, education or smoking and alcohol consumption. Compared to those with LFEM and HFEM, those with CM (CM-III) had significantly different epidemiological profiles. Conclusions: CM prevalence varies by case definition. The epidemiological profiles of the three CM groups are similar but differ significantly from those of HFEM and LFEM. Optimal definitions for clinical practice and epidemiological research require additional field testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-529
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Chronic migraine
  • classification
  • definition
  • epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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