Booze frequently considered a migraine trigger

A study involving 2,197 patients concluded that booze is often considered a migraine trigger. Booze means alcoholic beverages. In the study, 35.6% of patients reported alcoholic drinks as migraine triggers.

The researchers, from Leiden University, wrote about their study and findings in the European Journal of Neurology (citation below). The authors were G. M. Terwindt, G. L. J. Onderwater, W. P. J. van Oosterhout, G. G. Schoonman, and M. D. Ferrari.

Abstinence due to a presumed migraine trigger

The study also found that over 35% of migraine patients who had stopped consuming alcohol did so because they presumed it was a migraine trigger. Migraine patients who never consumed alcoholic beverages also never drank because of the presumed trigger effects.

Alcohol migraine trigger - image
In an Abstract that precedes the main article, the authors wrote: “Alcoholic beverages, especially red wine, are recognized as a migraine trigger factor by patients with migraine and have a substantial effect on alcohol consumption behavior.” (Image:

Red wine was the most common trigger – 77.8% of participants mentioned red wine as a migraine trigger. However, only 8.8% of participants actually got a migraine attack due to red wine consumption.

The onset of migraine for one-third of patients was less than three hours. For nearly 90% of patients, time of onset was less than ten hours, regardless of the type of alcoholic drink they consumed.

Senior author, Dr. Gisela Terwindt, a Neurologist/Biologist, said:

“Alcohol-triggered migraine occurs rapid after intake of alcoholic beverages, suggesting a different mechanism than a normal hangover.”

In a different study, an international team identified a new mechanism that causes migraines. A mutation causes a dysfunction within a protein that inhibits neuronal electrical activity.


“Alcoholic beverages as trigger factor and the effect on alcohol consumption behavior in patients with migraine,” G. L. J. Onderwater W. P. J. van Oosterhout G. G. Schoonman M. D. Ferrari G. M. Terwindt. European Journal of Neurology. First published: 18 December 2018. DOI: