Diabetes Associated With Decreased Risk for Migraine

Diabetes itself, complications of diabetes, or diabetes treatment may have protective effects on the risk of migraine.

Results from a study investigating diabetes and migraine in the Norwegian population show that type 1 and type 2 diabetes were significantly associated with a decreased risk for migraine. The findings were published in Cephalalgia.

Ippazio Cosimo Antonazzo, visiting PhD student at the University of Bergen, Norway, and colleagues noted that results from studies on diabetes and migraine risk have been conflicting. To see whether prospective studies with longer follow-up could provide more information, they performed a cohort study of the entire Norwegian population who were alive on January 1, 2004. The Norwegian prescription database was used to identify individuals with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and migraine during the 10-year follow-up. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the risk ratios with 95% CI for the effect of diabetes on risk for migraine, adjusting for age, sex, and education level.

The researchers identified 7883 patients with type 1 diabetes and 93,600 patients with type 2 diabetes. In the age- and sex-adjusted analyses, type 1 diabetes was significantly associated with a decreased risk for migraine during follow-up (hazard ratio [HR] 0.74; 95% CI, 0.61-0.89). Type 2 diabetes was also associated with a significantly lower risk for migraine (HR 0.89; 98% CI, 0.83-0.95). Further adjusting for educational level yielded similar results.

These results suggest that diabetes itself, complications of diabetes, or diabetes treatment may have protective effects on the risk for migraine.

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Limitations of this study include possible disease misclassification resulting from prescriptions being used to classify disease status; possible misclassification of patients who treated migraines with over-the-counter drugs only or of patients who treated type 2 diabetes without medication; and lack of information on environmental and genetic risk factors relevant to diabetes and migraine, meaning these could not be adjusted for in analyses.


Antonazzo IC, Riise T, Cortese M, et al. Diabetes is associated with decreased migraine risk: a nationwide cohort study [published online December 17, 2017]. Cephalalgia. doi:10.1177/0333102417748573