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Paroxysmal hemicrania: Clinical features and diagnosis

Manjit S Matharu, MD
Anna S Cohen, MD
Section Editor
Jerry W Swanson, MD, MHPE
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


The trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs) are a group of primary headache disorders characterized by unilateral trigeminal distribution pain that occurs in association with ipsilateral cranial autonomic features [1,2]. The TACs include cluster headache, paroxysmal hemicrania, short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks, and hemicrania continua [3].

Despite their common elements, the TACs differ in attack duration and frequency, as well as the response to therapy (table 1).

Hemicrania continua is characterized by continuous pain with exacerbations

Cluster headache has a relatively long attack duration and relatively low attack frequency

Paroxysmal hemicrania has an intermediate attack duration and frequency

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 24, 2017.
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