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Osmophobia and Taste Abnormality in Migraineurs: A Tertiary Care Study

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Objectives.—This study assesses osmophobia and taste abnormality for the first time in a large sample of migraine patients.

Methods.—Seven hundred and twenty seven migraineurs were evaluated. Osmophobia, taste abnormality, and perfume or odor trigger were graded from 0 to 3.

Results.—In patients with data, 24.7% of 673 patients complained of osmophobia (12.5% occasional, 7% frequent, and 5.2% very frequent) and 24.6% of 505 of taste abnormality (13.5% occasional, 6.1% frequent, and 5.0% very frequent). Perfume or odor trigger of acute migraine occurred in 45.5% of 724 patients (22.7% occasional, 10.2% frequent, and 12.6% very frequent). Perfume or odor trigger was associated with osmophobia in 61.5% and taste abnormality 62.1%. Osmophobia without taste abnormality occurred in 28.3% and taste abnormality without osmophobia in 40.3%. A greater percentage of females than males had osmophobia (25.7 vs. 17.5), taste abnormality (25.4 vs. 17.9), and perfume or odor trigger (49.3 vs. 22.1), all P < .0001.

Conclusions.—Osmophobia and taste abnormality occur in about one quarter of migraineurs during an acute migraine attack while perfume or odor trigger migraine in almost 50% of patients. Osmophobia and taste abnormality in the acute migraine attack, as well as perfumes or odor as a migraine trigger, are more common in females than in males.

(Headache 2004;44:1019-1023)
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Keywords: associated symptoms; headache; migraine; odor; osmophobia; perfume; taste

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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