Caffeine consumption as a risk factor for childhood and adolescence migraine

Background: Caffeine consumption is a risk factor for chronic daily headache but few studies have addressed relationships between pediatric patient caffeine levels and headache severity. We examined associations between serum and urine caffeine levels and headache severity in childhood and adolescent migraine cases.

Methods: Levels of caffeine and caffeine metabolites in serum and urine samples were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used for comparisons of age, sleep time, headache severity, caffeine consumption, and caffeine detection. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (ρ) was calculated for associations. Correlations where ρ ≥ 0.3 and differences where p < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results: Of the 40 patients studied, 34 declared caffeine consumption and six declared no caffeine consumption. These two groups did not differ significantly in any of the above clinical parameters. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis of both serum and urine samples revealed nine caffeine-negative (level <0.0625 μM) and 31 caffeine-positive cases. The Headache Impact Test-6 (HIT-6) score was higher (p = 0.033) for the caffeine-positive group versus the caffeine-negative group. Caffeine was detected by LC-MS/MS in the serum and/or urine of three of the six patients who declared no caffeine consumption. No significant correlations were observed among age, sleep times, headache severity score, or levels of caffeine and caffeine metabolites.

Conclusion: Thirty one of 40 (77.5%) cases of childhood/ adolescence migraine showed serum and urine caffeine positivity based on LC-MS/MS. The HIT-6 score, a measure of headache severity, was significantly higher for caffeine-positive versus caffeine-negative cases. Symptoms of childhood/adolescence migraine were exacerbated by caffeine consumption