Headaches in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: A comparative study
The incidence and nature of headaches in 85 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients attending an outpatient clinic were studied and compared to those experienced by 61 nurses. The two groups were similar in age, sex and ethnicity. Test-retest assessment of reliability gave both groups 95% confidence limits of 0.09-0.21. Thirty-two (38%) patients developed migrainous headaches and nine (10%) stress headaches with the onset of lupus. In the control group, four (6%) developed migraine and 40 (66%) developed stress headaches on commencing work. We could not document any association of headaches with flares of systemic disease, the ACA syndrome, Raynaud's phenomenon or increased SLEDAI score. We conclude that migrainous headaches are more common in lupus patients than healthy controls, but in an outpatient setting are not statistically associated with flares of systemic disease.