Increased risk of chronic fatigue syndrome in patients with migraine: A retrospective cohort study

Chi Ieong Lau, Che Chen Lin, Wei Hung Chen, Han Cheng Wang, Chia Hung Kao

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The common concurrence of migraine and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been reported but whether migraine poses a higher risk of CFS remains unknown. In this retrospective case-control study, we examined the association between the 2 disorders by using a nationwide, population-based database in Taiwan. Methods: The data were retrieved and analyzed from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) of Taiwan; 6902 newly diagnosed migraine cases from 2006-2010 were identified in a subset of the NHIRD, and 27,608 migraine-free individuals were randomly selected as the comparison cohort. The multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to investigate the risk of CFS in migraineurs after adjustment for demographic characteristics and comorbidities. Results: After adjustment for the covariates, the risk of CFSwas 1.5-fold higher in the migraine cohort than in the comparison cohort (52.72 vs. 28.85 per 10,000 person-years). Intriguingly, the risk was most prominent in the oldest group (≥ 65 years), with a 2.11-fold increased risk (95% confidence interval 1.31-3.41) of CFS. In addition, the adjusted cumulative incidence of CFS in the follow-up years was higher in the migraine group (log-rank test, P <.0001), and CFS incidence appeared to increase with the frequency of migraine diagnoses. Conclusion: The current study demonstrated an increased risk of CFS in migraineurs. Proposed mechanisms in previous studies such as mitochondrial dysfunction and central sensitization may underlie the shared pathophysiology of these seemingly distinct but potentially overlapping disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-518
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Migraine
  • Population-based cohort study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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