How is a migraine variant (equivalent) diagnosed?

Updated: Oct 16, 2019
  • Author: Rima M Dafer, MD, MPH, FAHA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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The diagnosis of migraine variant is determined by a history of paroxysmal signs and symptoms with or without cephalalgia and a previous history of migraine with aura, in the absence of other medical disorders that may contribute to the symptoms. Many of these patients usually have a family history of migraine.

Migraine variants should be differentiated from trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, which include cluster headaches, paroxysmal hemicrania, and syndrome of neuralgiform conjunctival injection and tearing. These syndromes should also be differentiated from other primary headache disorders, such as stabbing headache, thunderclap headaches, hypnic headaches and hemicrania continua, and primary headache syndromes associated with physical activity (eg, exertional headaches, cough headaches, and headaches associated with sexual activity).

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