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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Plasma Glucose Levels Increase During Spontaneous Attacks of Migraine With and Without Aura

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate plasma glucose changes during the ictal state of migraine compared to the interictal state.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies suggest abnormal glucose metabolism in migraine patients during and outside of attacks. It is not known if plasma glucose levels change during spontaneous migraine attacks.

METHODS: Plasma glucose levels were measured during and outside of spontaneous migraine attacks with and without aura. Plasma glucose values were corrected for diurnal variation of plasma glucose by subtracting the difference between the moving average (intervals of 2 hours) and overall mean from the plasma glucose values.

RESULTS: This was a sub-study of a larger study conducted at Rigshospitalet Glostrup in the Capital Region of Denmark. Thirty-one patients (24 F, 7 M, 13 with aura, 18 without aura) were included in the study. Mean time from attack onset to blood sampling was 7.6 hours. Mean pain at the time of investigation was 6 on a 0-10 verbal rating scale. Plasma glucose was higher ictally compared to the interictal phase (interictal mean: 88.63 mg/dL, SD 11.70 mg/dL; ictal mean: 98.83 mg/dL, SD 13.16 mg/dL, difference 10.20 mg/dL, 95% CI = [4.30; 16.10]), P = .0014). The ictal increase was highest in patients investigated early during attacks and decreased linearly with time from onset of migraine (-1.57 mg/dL/hour from onset of attack, P = .020). The attack-related increase in blood glucose was not affected by pain intensity or presence of aura symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated higher plasma glucose values during spontaneous migraine attacks, independent of the presence of aura symptoms and not related to pain intensity, peaking in the early phase of attacks. Additional studies are necessary to confirm our findings and explore the possible underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)655-664
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • blood sugar, ictal phase, migraine

ID: 59482915