Is there an association between migraine and allergic rhinitis? | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Is there an association between migraine and allergic rhinitis?

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June 20, 2017
by Isil Adadan Guvenc, MD; Mustafa Acar, MD; Nuray Bayar Muluk, MD; Nagehan Erdogmus Kucukcan, MD; Cemal Cingi, MD

Abstract

We conducted a prospective study to evaluate nasal signs and symptoms and to perform allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) testing to investigate the relationship between migraine and allergic rhinitis. Our study group consisted of 40 patients diagnosed with migraine-22 men and 18 women, aged 21 to 38 years (mean: 25.7). We compared their findings with a control group of 40 healthy adults-15 men and 25 women, aged 19 to 36 years (mean: 25.1). Allergen-specific IgE measurements were obtained with six groups of allergens: fungi, grass pollens, tree pollens, wild herbs, house dust mite 1, and house dust mite 2. We found no significant difference between the migraine patients and the controls in the incidence of nasal signs and symptoms (i.e., discharge, congestion, itching, and sneezing) or inferior turbinate signs (i.e., color and edema). According to the IgE assays, 14 migraine patients (35.0%) were sensitized to one or more allergens, compared with 11 of the controls (27.5%); the difference was not statistically significant. Sensitization was highest for the grass pollens panel in both groups. Even though we did not find an association between migraine and allergic rhinitis, the recent literature supports a correlation between migraine and atopy. The two conditions share common neural pathways and common mediators, and they can be linked statistically in patients and their families. A pathophysiologic association between the two conditions seems more likely than an etiologic association. In this regard, future efforts could be focused on the determination of atopy in migraine patients and the therapeutic implications of this diagnosis.

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