Vestibular migraine

Michael Strupp, Maurizio Versino, Thomas Brandt
Handbook of Clinical Neurology 2010, 97: 755-71
Vestibular migraine is a chameleon among the episodic vertigo syndromes because considerable variation characterizes its clinical manifestation. The attacks may last from seconds to days. About one-third of patients presents with monosymptomatic attacks of vertigo or dizziness without headache or other migrainous symptoms. During attacks most patients show spontaneous or positional nystagmus and in the attack-free interval minor ocular motor and vestibular deficits. Women are significantly more often affected than men. Symptoms may begin at any time in life, with the highest prevalence in young adults and between the ages of 60 and 70. Over the last 10 years vestibular migraine has evolved into a medical entity in dizziness units. It is the most common cause of spontaneous recurrent episodic vertigo and accounts for approximately 10% of patients with vertigo and dizziness. Its broad spectrum poses a diagnostic problem of how to rule out Menière's disease or vestibular paroxysmia. Vestibular migraine should be included in the International Headache Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) as a subcategory of migraine. It should, however, be kept separate and distinct from basilar-type migraine and benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood. We prefer the term "vestibular migraine" to "migrainous vertigo," because the latter may also refer to various vestibular and non-vestibular symptoms. Antimigrainous medication to treat the single attack and to prevent recurring attacks appears to be effective, but the published evidence is weak. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is required to evaluate medical treatment of this condition.

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