The International Classification of Headache Disorders revised criteria for chronic migraine - Field testing in a headache specialty clinic

M. E. Bigal, A. M. Rapoport, F. D. Sheftell, S. J. Tepper, R. B. Lipton

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65 Scopus citations


In the absence of a biological marker and expert consensus on the best approach to classify chronic migraine (CM), recent revised criteria for this disease has been proposed by the Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society. This revised criteria for CM is now presented in the Appendix. Herein we field test the revised criteria for CM. We included individuals with transformed migraine with or without medication overuse (TM+ and TM-), according to the criteria proposed by Silberstein and Lipton, since this criterion has been largely used before the Second Edition of the International Classification of the Headache Disorders (ICHD-2). We assessed the proportion of subjects that fulfilled ICHD-2 criteria for CM or probable chronic migraine with probable medication overuse (CM+), as well as the revised ICHD-2 (ICHD-2R) criteria for CM (≥15 days of headache, ≥8 days of migraine or migraine-specific acute medication use - ergotamine or triptans). We also tested the ICHD-2R vs. three proposals. In proposal 1, CM/CM+ would require at least 15 days of migraine or probable migraine per month. Proposal 2 required ≥15 days of headache per month and at least 50% of these days were migraine or probable migraine. Proposal 3 required ≥15 days of headache and at least 8 days of migraine or probable migraine per month. Of the 158 patients with TM-, just 5.6% met ICHD-2 criteria for CM. According to the ICHD-2R, a total of 92.4% met criteria for CM (P < 0.001 vs. ICHD-2). The ICHD-2R criterion performed better than proposal 1 (47.8% of agreement, P < 0.01) and was not statistically different from proposals 2 (87.9%) and 3 (94.9%). Subjects with TM+ should be classified as medication overuse headache (MOH), and not CM+, according to the ICHD-2R. Nonetheless, we assessed the proportion of them who had ≥8 days of migraine per month. Of the 399 individuals with TM+, just 10.2% could be classified as CM+ in the ICHD-2. However, most (349, 86.9%) had ≥8 days of migraine per month and could be classified as MOH and probable CM in the ICHD-2R (P < 0.001 vs. ICHD-2). We conclude that the ICHD-2R addresses most of the criticism towards the ICHD-2 and should be adopted in clinical practice and research. In the population where use of specific acute migraine medications is less common, the agreement between ICHD-2R CM and TM may be less robust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-234
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Chronic daily headaches
  • Chronic migraine
  • Classification
  • Transformed migraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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