Have Fibromyalgia and Migraines? Study Shows an Increased Risk of Suicide

Have Fibromyalgia and Migraines? Study Shows an Increased Risk of Suicide

A new study published in the journal Neurology says that people who suffer from fibromyalgia and migraines are at increased risk of suicide.

Researchers from the University of Taipei surveyed 1,318 people with migraine headaches, and 10.1% of them also had fibromyalgia. Four out of five of the survey respondents were women.

The results didn’t surprise Dr. Ginevra Liptan, who founded the first practice devoted to fibromyalgia in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

“Several different studies have demonstrated that that the risk of suicide is higher in fibromyalgia,” she said. ” I think a huge contributor is that people suffering from this ” invisible” illness often feel misunderstood by the medical community- and even sometimes by their family. ”

Of 1,318 patients with migraine included in the analysis 10,1% were found to have co morbid Fibromyalgia. Patients with migraine and co morbid FM had higher headache frequency and headache-related disability, poor sleep quality, and were more depressed/anxious in comparison to those patients who only had migraine.

Of the patients with migraine 27.3% reported suicidal ideation and 6.9% reported suicide attempts. These results were even higher in patients with co morbid FM (58.3% thought about it and 17.6% attempted.).

The researchers also found an association between FM co morbidity and a higher suicide risk in three different migraine subgroups, i.e., migraine without aura, migraine with aura, and chronic migraine. Importantly, FM co morbidity was found to be a predictor of suicidal ideation and attempts in patients with migraine.

Based on these results the authors believe that co morbid FM is associated with a high risk of suicide in migraine patients and awareness of suicide risk should be increased in this specific group of people.

Chronic pain sufferers of all indications are at increased risk of suicide. National Pain Report reported on how NASCAR legend, Dick Trickle, ended his life because of chronic back pain.

If you do not already have a mental health professional as part of your pain management team, you should consider it.

If you or a loved one are in emotional distress or have suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has counselors available 24 hours day, seven days a week, at 800-273-TALK (8255).

Editor’s Note: If you or a loved one has fibromyalgia, Dr. Liptan has agreed to write an occasional column answering some reader’s questions and comments. Send your question to us via email editor@nationalpainreport.com

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Valerie at 12:03 am

    I’m one of the women who has FM with Intracranial Hypertension, chronic migraines and chronic daily headaches, along with a few more issues. My first migraine was @ 17…I’m 43 now. I have Botox done every 3 months. My insurance pays. Five years ago they didn’t. I have BC/BS. I have tried a plethora of meds with very little results. The triptans actually make my head worse. I was on narcotics for a few years, not for the migraines, by the IH. I stopped the narcotics in 13 and now use them very sporadically. I’m not against them being used on a regular basis for someone else, but I don’t want them all the time. The suicide/migraine correlation comes at no surprise. When people reach the pain levels that we experience, quality of life might become questionable. How to deal with that should be between doctor and patient. As far as insurance coverage goes, many DO cover Botox…of course not at a 100% level. But I must ask, what insurance covers anything procedural at 100%? I’m not sure discouraging people from anything that might bring relief is the right thing to do…especially following an article on suicide amongst migraineures. Yes, you might need to have your doctor get in touch with the insurance company, but if it helps or gives someone hope long enough to realize that suicide isn’t the best alternative, doesn’t that make the possible extra steps worth it?

  2. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 7:57 am

    Ooouufff!! True migraine headaches [first at 19, triggers, neck injections – any kind, hot yeast and hormones] are murderous all on their own. If you suffer more than one a month? Plus pain on top? [opiates will not help a migraine and in fact can make it worse…rescue meds like imitrex didn’t exist when I started getting them and that was before I was injured seriously] it is no surprise that there is an increase in suicides.

    Migraines for me are a separate issue from my FM/CP [and a crushed sciatic nerve I’m finding out…] and far rarer now at 44. I know some women have had botox injections in temple with promising results. However, good luck getting insurance to pay for it.

  3. Valerie at 1:57 pm

    I never put this connection together, but it is spot on. Not only do I have chronic migraines without aura and fibromyalgia, but I also have chronic daily headaches and Intracranial Hypertension. I admit thoughts of ending it all have occurred, resulting in 2 hospital stays. I can’t stress enough that we need a cure…and until one is found, awareness, awareness, awareness!