n. a neurovascular disorder in a genetically predisposed individual. There is an instability within the brainstem that is triggered by a variety of stimuli (e.g. foods, light, stress) and results in a recurrent throbbing headache that characteristically affects one side of the head. The patient sometimes has forewarning of an attack (an aura) consisting of visual disturbance or tingling and/or weakness of the limbs, which clear up as the headache develops. It is often accompanied by prostration, nausea and vomiting, and photophobia. Effective preventive medication (e.g. beta blockers and some antiepileptic drugs) is available for patients with frequent migraine attacks, and *5HT1 agonists may be used to treat acute attacks. See also cluster headache.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.