Case Report

Migraine, Interferon β1a and Siponimod Immunomodulator Therapies

Ashraf A. Dahaba; Helmar Bornemann-Cimenti


BMC Anesthesiol. 2022;22(95) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Autoimmunity seems to play a great role in the pathogenesis of migraine headache pain. There is far more evidence that interferon can exacerbate migraines. We report a case where remission of severe comorbid migraine attacks happened with the start of interferon β1a (Merck, Netherlands) immunomodulation therapy. Therapy for multiple sclerosis was decided according to the severity of the debilitating comorbid migraine headache pain rather than the evolution of multiple sclerosis the far more serious disease.

Case Presentation: A 63-years old patient suffered for 30-years from migraine headache of severe disability assessment scale (MIDAS) Grade-IV = 27. He also suffered for 25-years from optic-sensory relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Subcutaneous interferon β1a 44-μg immunomodulation therapy for 4-years resulted in multiple sclerosis complete remission. The start of interferon β1a therapy for multiple sclerosis seemed to help resolving the comorbid migraine attacks. The visual aura premonitory symptom preceding migraine headache would end up with a feeling of post visual aura clearer field of vision and a feeling of wellbeing. As the patient developed secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), oral siponimod 2 mg (Novartis, Ireland), currently the only available therapy for SPMS, replaced his interferon therapy. This was associated with a relapse of migraine severe attacks. Reverting back to interferon therapy was again associated with migraine headache remission.

Conclusions: Interferon β1a might be an efficic therapy for "autoimmune migraine". With numerous immunomodulators currently available for other systemic autoimmune diseases associated with comorbid migraine; examining the effect of these immunomodulatory therapies on comorbid migraine headache could be beneficial in finding a specific immunomodulator therapy for "autoimmune migraine".