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Migraine-associated dizziness: patient characteristics and management options.

OBJECTIVE: To determine patient characteristics and effectiveness of therapy for migraine-associated dizziness.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

SETTING: Tertiary referral center.

PATIENTS: Patients were identified through a code query of billing records for the diagnosis of migraine-associated vertigo or disequilibrium, based on the International Headache Society criteria. There were 81 patients (61 women, 20 men) with an average age of 36.6 years (range, 8-71 yr); all except four patients were evaluated between 1995 and 1999. Follow-up was obtained from chart review. Mean follow-up time was 54.5 weeks, with a range of 4 to 456 weeks.

INTERVENTION: One or more treatment methods, including dietary manipulation, medication (tricyclic antidepressants, beta-blockers or calcium-channel blockers), and neurology consultation, were applied sequentially as necessary.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Response to therapy was defined as greater than 75% reduction in symptom recurrence rate.

RESULTS: Overall, 72% of patients experienced resolution or dramatic reduction of their attacks of vertigo or disequilibrium. Of the 13 patients treated with the introduction of dietary manipulation alone, 100% received significant relief. Of the 31 patients treated with dietary manipulation and the addition of a medication, 77% of these patients had significant relief. Of the final group of 37 patients treated with another medication or a neurology consultation, 57% received substantial relief. Of the responders, the majority (>95%) experienced an equal reduction in both vertigo or disequilibrium and headache symptoms. Interestingly, 100% of the patients in the migraine without active headache group received substantial relief of their vertigo or disequilibrium symptoms with migraine therapy.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that there is effective therapy for the common problem of migraine-associated dizziness.

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