Migraine headaches and suicide attempt

Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 04/24/2012

The results suggest the possibility that pain severity might account in part for the increased risk of suicide attempt associated with migraine.


  • A cohort of persons with migraine (n = 496), non–migraine severe headaches (n = 151), and controls with no history of severe headache (n = 539) was randomly selected from the general community, assessed in 1997 and reassessed 2 years later.


  • Persons with migraine had an increased risk of suicide attempt during the 2–year follow–up period, compared with controls.
  • Odds ratio, adjusted for sex, psychiatric disorder, and previous history of suicide attempt at baseline was 4.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.93, 10.2).
  • Persons with non–migraine headache of comparable intensity and disability also had an increased risk of suicide attempt, compared to controls: odds ratio, adjusted for the same covariates, was 6.20 (95% CI 2.40, 16.0).
  • The difference between the 2 estimates was not significant.
  • In the entire sample, headache severity at baseline predicted suicide attempt: a difference of 1 standard deviation (SD) in pain score increased the risk of suicide attempt by 79%, adjusting for sex and psychiatric disorders.

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