Background: Non-painful symptoms in migraine following headache resolution can last up to days. Studying the postdrome is important to appreciate the morbidity associated with migraine. Methods: Fifty-three subjects (n = 53) with migraine were studied in an experimental setting, collecting historical phenotypic information on the postdrome in their spontaneous attacks, and also associated with nitroglycerin-triggered attacks, while being observed prospectively. In a separate headache clinic-based cohort of migraineurs (n = 42), who were age and sex-matched to the experimental group, the same phenotypic data were extracted from their clinic records. Spontaneous and nitroglycerin-triggered attack phenotypes, and experimental and clinical cohort phenotypes were compared using agreement analysis. Results: In the experimental group, 100% had a postdrome with their triggered attack, while 98% reported a postdrome in their spontaneous attacks. In the clinical group, 79% had reported a postdrome. In the experimental group, there was good agreement between spontaneous and nitroglycerin-triggered tiredness, hunger, mood change, sensory sensitivities and vertigo and with similarity in premonitory and postdrome phenotypes experienced in the same individual. Conclusions: The migraine postdrome is common and symptomatically similar to the premonitory phase. The nitroglycerin model and migraine abortive agents can be used to study the postdrome experimentally. Systematic questioning of symptoms, as well as collateral histories from direct observers of migraine attacks, are likely to enhance symptomatic capture of the migraine postdrome, and aid understanding of attack mediation, abortion and neurobiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-730
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • headache
  • Migraine
  • nitroglycerin
  • postdrome
  • provocation
  • trigger


Dive into the research topics of 'The migraine postdrome: Spontaneous and triggered phenotypes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this