Full Question: Can a migraine cause a seizure in a person that does not have epilepsy If so how, what do you do about it? If it happens once will it recur? Victoria.
Yes, a Migraine can trigger a seizure, although it’s not very common. Here’s the description and diagnostic criteria for a Migraine-triggered seizure from the International Headache Society:
Description: A seizure triggered by a migraine aura.
- Migraine fulfilling criteria for 1.2 Migraine with aura
- A seizure fulfilling diagnostic criteria for one type of epileptic attack occurs during or within 1 hour after a migraine aura
Comment: Migraine and epilepsy are prototypical examples of paroxysmal brain disorders. While migraine-like headaches are quite frequently seen in the postictal period, sometimes a seizure occurs during or following a migraine attack. This phenomenon, sometimes referred to as migralepsy, has been described in patients with migraine with aura.
Testing should be conducted to be sure the seizure was triggered by the Migraine and that you don’t have a seizure disorder.
You need to ask your own doctor, who knows your medical history, what to do if and when this occurs. If it’s confirmed that it was a Migraine-triggered seizure, there’s no way to predict if it will occur again. That’s another reason it’s important to discuss this with your doctor and develop a plan of action.
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert
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About Ask the Clinician:
Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.
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© Teri Robert and J.C. Krusz, 2008.
Last updated May 10, 2008.
Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.