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Prevalence and Factors associated with
Headache in Patients with Systemic Lupus
Erythematosus
Weder-Cisneros ND, Tellez-Zenteno JF, et al.
Posted: January 2005  
Cephalalgia 2004; 24:103101044


Headache is common in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with reported prevalence as high as 70%. The aims of this study were: to estimate the prevalence and types of headache in a sample of patients with SLE comparing it with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), to determine clinical and serological associations. Eighty-one SLE and 29 RA consecutive patients seen in our outpatient clinic were interviewed. Headache was evaluated using the diagnostic criteria proposed by the International Headache Society. Additional evaluations were carried out in the 81 SLE patients including depression, disease activity, lupus damage, function disability, quality of life, and severity degree using a validated scale. Forty-one percent of SLE and 17% of RA patients suffered from headache. No significant difference for any primary headache type between the two groups was found. Frequency of headache types in SLE patients was: migraine 24%, tensional-type headache 11%, and mixed headache 5%. In SLE patients the risk factors associated with headaches were Raynaud's phenomenon. We conclude that headache is more common in SLE than in RA patients and was independently associated with Raynaudís phenomenon.