In a European Journal of Neurology study of 2,197 patients who experience migraines, alcoholic beverages were reported as a trigger by 35.6 percent of participants.
Additionally, more than 25 percent of migraine patients who had stopped consuming or never consumed alcoholic beverages did so because of presumed trigger effects. Wine, especially red wine (77.8 percent of participants), was recognized as the most common trigger among the alcoholic beverages; however, red wine consistently led to an attack in only 8.8 percent of participants. Time of onset was rapid (less than three hours) in one third of patients, and almost 90 percent of patients had an onset in under 10 hours independent of the type of alcoholic beverage consumed.
The authors noted that it can be debated if alcohol is a factual or a presumed trigger. Additional studies are needed to unravel this relationship.
"Alcohol-triggered migraine occurs rapid after intake of alcoholic beverages, suggesting a different mechanism than a normal hangover," said senior author Dr. Gisela Terwindt, of the Leiden University Medical Center, in the Netherlands.