Is There Any Correlation between Migraine Attacks and Iron Deficiency Anemia? ACase-Control Study

  • Ali Tayyebi
  • Maryam Poursadeghfard
  • Masoumeh Nazeri
  • Tahereh Pousadeghfard
Keywords: Migraine; Iron-deficiency anemia; Correlation; Relation


Background: Migraine headache is an episodic abnormality which usually presents with a severe headache, accompanied by nausea, photo and sound sensitivity, and autonomic symptoms. Iron accumulation in brain, especially peri-aqueductal grey is associated with duration of the disease, and apparently there is an association between body iron storage status and the incidence of migraine; hence, the present study was conducted to investigate the plausible association between iron-deficiency anemia and migraine in a case-control design.

Materials and Methods: After signing the written informed consent, the blood samples were collected by a well-trained technician from the patients proved to have migraine, those having migraine clinical criteria and those having migraine attack frequency as high as that prophylaxis was required, and non-migraine healthy individuals, those having not migraine and anemia except iron-deficiency anemia. Based on the sample size, each group composed of samples with at least 100 individuals.

Results: There were statistically significant differences between female cases and controls regarding hemoglobin, serum ferritin levels and iron-deficiency anemia (P-value: .0004; .006; .001), but no differences were observed among males (P-value: .606; .38; .303). Furthermore, the case-control comparisons revealed a significant difference in iron-deficiency anemia (P-value: .032), but no significant difference was seen in hemoglobin and serum ferritin levels (P-value: .161; .178).

Conclusion: The present study suggests an association between iron-deficiency anemia, hemoglobin and serum ferritin levels and the incidence of migraine in females. As a result, there might be an association between body iron storage status and the incidence of migraine, especially among females, reflecting the fact that iron supplements might be an effective treatment or prophylaxis in patients with migraine associated with iron-deficiency anemia. However, further studies are required to provide a conclusive answer to the issues remained controversial.