Low Serum Levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Linked With Prolonged Migraine

Thyroid tests
Thyroid tests
Investigators examined the role of thyroid function in patients with migraine and whether there is an association with severity of symptoms with thyroid hormone levels.

Lower levels of thyrotropin in serum are associated with a longer duration of migraine headaches, according to a study published in Cephalalgia. Although only 5% of individuals with migraine in this study had abnormal thyrotropin levels, clinicians should check thyrotropin levels in those with severe migraine.

This cross-sectional, open-label comparative study included 130 individuals with migraine recruited from a tertiary headache center. The study researchers discovered an inverse relationship between length of headache attacks and serum levels of thyrotropin. Abortive therapy for attacks showed efficacy and was significantly related to thyroid-stimulating hormone levels. In addition, both quality of life and functional and social measures revealed a direct relationship with serum thyrotropin.

Relevant data were gathered by administering the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Migraine Disability Assessment questionnaire, Vanderbilt’s Questionnaire of Pain Management, Beck Depression Inventory, Gothenburg Quality of Life Questionnaire, and the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life questionnaire. The Migraine Assessment of Current Therapy questionnaire was utilized to examine how efficacious each therapy was to attacks. A common immune chemiluminescent procedure utilizing the Immulite-2000 set was used to examine levels of thyroxine, triiodothyronine, and thyrotropin.

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The study researchers conclude that “a relatively low level of serum thyrotropin, even in terms of its normal values, may be associated with a more prolonged and refractory clinical course of migraine, with greater impact on quality of life. The pathogenesis of this association demands further investigation. Another finding of the study is the absence of a difference in median values of [thyroid-stimulating hormone] between migraine patients and controls. Besides, we can mention that in our study only about 5% of 130 consecutively enrolled migraine patients showed abnormal thyroid function.”


Starikova NL, Baidina TV, Kalashnikova TP. Thyrotropin levels and severity of symptoms in migraine patients of tertiary headache center [published online August 12, 2018]. Cephalalgia.  doi: 10.1177/0333102418794941