Primary headaches in HIV-infected patients

Seyed M. Mirsattari, Christopher Power, Avindra Nath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Headache in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection may indicate life-threatening illnesses such as opportunistic infections or neoplasms. Alternatively, such patients may develop benign self-limiting headaches. Hence, defining the various types of headache in these patients is essential for proper management. This study describes the clinical characteristics of primary headaches occurring in a group of HIV-infected patients. Of 115 patients seen from 1990 to 1996, 44 (38%) had headaches. Primary headaches were present in 29 (66%) patients and secondary causes were identified in 15 (34%). Among those with primary headaches, migraine occurred in 22 (76%), tension-type headache in 4 (14%), and cluster headache in 3 (10%) patients. Half of those with migraine (n=11), 1 patient with tension- type headache, and 1 patient with cluster headache developed chronic daily headaches which were severe and refractory to conventional headache or antiretroviral therapy. We conclude that primary headaches in patients with HIV infection are: (1) the commonest type of headache; (2) may present for the first time in individuals with severe immunosuppression; (3) usually bear no relationship to antiretroviral drug therapy; (4) polypharmacy, depression, anxiety, and insomnia are commonly associated comorbidities; (5) frequently do not respond to conventional management and carry a poor prognosis; and (6) do not require neuroradiological and/or cerebrospinal fluid evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
JournalHeadache
Volume39
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Headache
HIV
Cluster Headache
Tension-Type Headache
Virus Diseases
Migraine Disorders
Polypharmacy
Headache Disorders
Opportunistic Infections
Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders
Immunosuppression
Cerebrospinal Fluid
HIV-1
Comorbidity
Anxiety
Depression
Drug Therapy

Keywords

  • AIDS
  • Chronic daily headache
  • Cluster headache
  • Headache
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Migraine
  • Tension- type

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Mirsattari, S. M., Power, C., & Nath, A. (1999). Primary headaches in HIV-infected patients. Headache, 39(1), 3-10.

Primary headaches in HIV-infected patients. / Mirsattari, Seyed M.; Power, Christopher; Nath, Avindra.

In: Headache, Vol. 39, No. 1, 1999, p. 3-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mirsattari, SM, Power, C & Nath, A 1999, 'Primary headaches in HIV-infected patients', Headache, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 3-10.
Mirsattari SM, Power C, Nath A. Primary headaches in HIV-infected patients. Headache. 1999;39(1):3-10.
Mirsattari, Seyed M. ; Power, Christopher ; Nath, Avindra. / Primary headaches in HIV-infected patients. In: Headache. 1999 ; Vol. 39, No. 1. pp. 3-10.
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