005/12/08 #2 - Can a migraine cause a seizure in a person that does not have epilepsy?

Health Professional

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.


Dear 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.

Diagnostic criteria:

  1. Migraine fulfilling criteria for 1.2 Migraine with aura
  2. 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.

Good luck,
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

If you need to find a headache and Migraine specialist, please see our listing of patient recommended specialists.

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.

If you have a question, please click HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. Due to the number of questions submitted, no questions will be answered privately, and questions will be accepted only when submitted via THIS FORM. Please do not submit questions via email, private message, or SharePost comments. Thank you.

Please note: We cannot handle emergencies or diagnose via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis.

We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.