International Headache Classification Committee Solicits Input

Allison Gandey

June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010 (Los Angeles, California) — Members of the International Headache Classification Committee are reaching out to clinicians asking their views for the third edition of the headaches disorders classification. The new version is due out in 2012.

The group hosted a town hall meeting Thursday at the American Headache Society 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting.

Dr. Peter Goadsby

"We hope that by receiving input, we will get a better result and more consensus when the third edition is complete," committee member Peter Goadsby, MD, from the University of California at San Francisco, told Medscape Neurology.

Among the many topics up for revision are migraines, trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, and other primary headaches. Committee members are also working on a new definition for secondary headaches.

"The classification for headache disorders is used so widely that we are very conscious of the potential repercussions of changes," Dr. Goadsby said.

It was a concern raised repeatedly at the town hall meeting. Delegate after delegate commented on the potential clinical and research implications of new definitions. US-based physicians also raised concerns about potential changes to payer coding.

Town hall meeting at the Los Angeles Hyatt Regency.

"These diagnostic criteria will also be used by regulators to help define patient populations," Carol Roberts from Eli Lilly pointed out at the meeting. "And the World Health Organization will use this across the globe."

"A lot of work has yet to be done," Dr. Goadsby acknowledged. The committee plans to meet again in October at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress in France.

In a handout presented at the meeting, committee chair Jes Olesen, MD, from the Danish Headache Center, noted, "The headache community has never been more active than now when it comes to research relating to headache classification."

Still, he adds, "Most of the current diagnostic criteria are based on the opinion of experts and virtually every single entity needs a qualifying study." Until new classifications can be based exclusively on published evidence, Dr. Olesen says, it is his hope the revised second edition will serve as a useful and clear guide to the diagnosis of primary and secondary headache disorders.

The current version appears online at The email address to offer input on the new edition is

Other committee members include:

  • Secretary Timothy Steiner, United Kingdom

  • David Dodick, United States

  • Michael First, United States

  • Morris Levin, United States

  • Todd Schwedt, United States

  • Anne Ducros, France

  • Zaza Katsarava, Germany

  • Julio Pascual, Spain

  • Cristina Tassorelli, Italy

  • Gisela Terwindt, the Netherlands

  • Maurice Vincent, Brazil

  • Shuu-Jiun Wang, Taiwan

Dr. Goadsby has received grants from Boston Scientific, GlaxoSmithKline, MAP Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic, and MSD. He has also received consulting money from Allergan, Almirall, ATI, BI, BMS, Coherex, Colucid, Eli Lilly, Neuralieve, Neuraxon, NTP Pharma, Pfizer, and Zogenix.

American Headache Society (AHS) 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting. June 24, 2010.


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