, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 585-592,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Oct 2011

Chronic migraine classification: current knowledge and future perspectives


In the field of so-called chronic daily headache, it is not easy for migraine that worsens progressively until it becomes daily or almost daily to find a precise and universally recognized place within the current international headache classification systems. In line with the 2006 revision of the second edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-2R), the current prevailing opinion is that this headache type should be named chronic migraine (CM) and be characterized by the presence of at least 15 days of headache per month for at least 3 consecutive months, with headache having the same clinical features of migraine without aura for at least 8 of those 15 days. Based on much evidence, though, a CM with the above characteristics appears to be a heterogeneous entity and the obvious risk is that its definition may be extended to include a variety of different clinical entities. A proposal is advanced to consider CM a subtype of migraine without aura that is characterized by a high frequency of attacks (10–20 days of headache per month for at least 3 months) and is distinct from transformed migraine (TM), which in turn should be included in the classification as a complication of migraine. Therefore, CM should be removed from its current coding position in the ICHD-2 and be replaced by TM, which has more restrictive diagnostic criteria (at least 20 days of headache per month for at least 1 year, with no more than 5 consecutive days free of symptoms; same clinical features of migraine without aura for at least 10 of those 20 days).

A comment to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10194-012-0429-6.