This review provides an update on sex differences in chronic migraine (CM), with a focus on clinical characteristics, pathophysiology, and treatments.
Approximately 6.8-7.8% of all migraineurs have CM, with an estimated prevalence of 1.4-2.2% in the general population. The economic burden caused by CM, including medical costs and lost working ability, is threefold higher than that caused by episodic migraine (EM). Notably, the prevalence of migraine is affected by age and sex. Female migraineurs with CM experience higher levels of headache-related disability, including longer headache duration, higher frequency of attacks, and more severely impacted efficiency at work. Sex hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, contribute to the sexually dimorphic characteristics and prevalence of migraine in men and women. Recent neuroimaging studies have indicated that migraine may have a greater impact and cause greater dysfunction in the organization of resting-state functional networks in women. Accumulating evidence suggests that topiramate, Onabotulinumtoxin A and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies are effective as the preventative treatments for CM. Recent evidence highlights a divergence in the characteristics of CM between male and female populations. The data comparing the treatment response for CM regarding sex are lacking.

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