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Multiple Servings of Caffeine May Trigger Migraine

August 08, 2019

High intake of caffeine may be a trigger for migraine on the following day, according to results of a new study.

To come to this conclusion, the researchers prospectively studied 98 adults with episodic migraine who completed electronic diary entries for at least 6 weeks. In these entries, participants reported daily caffeinated beverage intake, other lifestyle factors, and the timing and characteristics of each migraine episode.

A self-matched analysis was used to evaluate the link between caffeinated beverage intake and migraines on the same day or the following day.

Overall, the 98 participants reported 825 migraines over 4467 days of the study period.

The results of the analysis showed a statistically significant nonlinear association between caffeine beverage intake and the odds of a migraine occurring on the same day. However, the associations for each level of intake varied based on habitual intake and oral contraceptive use and were not statistically significant across all levels.

The researchers said that drinking 1 to 2 servings of caffeine per day was not associated with a higher risk of migraine, but 3 or more servings may be a trigger. A serving was defined as 8 oz or one cup of caffeinated coffee, 6 oz of tea, a 12-oz can of soda, or a 2-oz can of an energy drink.

“There was a nonlinear association between caffeinated beverage intake and the odds of migraine headache occurrence on that day,” the researchers concluded. “This suggests that high levels of caffeinated beverage intake may be a trigger of migraine headaches on that day.”

—Amanda Balbi


Mostofsky E, Mittleman MA, Buettner C, Li W, Bertisch SM. Prospective cohort study of caffeinated beverage intake as a potential trigger of headaches among migraineurs [published online August 8, 2019]. Am J Med

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