Headache attributed to idiopathic intracranial hypertension and persistent post-idiopathic intracranial hypertension headache: a narrative review

Susan Mollan, Olivia Grech, Alex Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objective
Headache is a near-universal sequela of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). The aim of this paper is to report current knowledge of headache in IIH and to identify therapeutic options.

Background
Disability in IIH is predominantly driven by headache; thus, headache management is an urgent and unmet clinical need. At present, there is currently no scientific evidence for the directed use of abortive or preventative headache therapy.

Methods
A detailed search of the scientific literature and narrative review was performed.

Results
Headache in IIH is driven by raised intracranial pressure (ICP) and reduction of ICP has been reported in some studies to reduce headache. Despite resolution of papilledema and normalization of raised ICP, a majority suffer persistent post-IIH headache. The lack of evidence-based management approaches leaves many untreated. Where clinicians attempt to manage IIH headache, they use off-label therapies to target the prevailing headache phenotype. A recent prospective open-label study demonstrated the effective use of a calcitonin gene-related peptide monoclonal antibody therapy in IIH for persistent post-IIH headache.

Conclusions
There is overwhelming evidence of the headache burden in IIH. Studies are required to investigate the biological foundations of headache related to ICP and to develop treatments specifically directed to manage headache in IIH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)808-816
Number of pages9
JournalHeadache
Volume61
Issue number6
Early online date9 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Sinclair is supported by a Sir Jules Thorn Award for Biomedical Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Headache Society.

Keywords

  • glucagon-like peptide-1
  • headache
  • idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • obesity
  • raised intracranial pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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