Migraine headaches and swelling of the eyes - PMRGCAuk


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Migraine headaches and swelling of the eyes


Migraine headaches wake me up frequently around 3:30 AM to 5:00AM. My eyes are nearly swollen shut. Sometimes the migraine will go away after several hours, but has lasted as long as three days.

I don't know if it's the PMR or the prednisone causing the migraines and swelling of the face. Would like to know if any one else has experienced these symptoms. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

15 Replies

Migraines don't typically cause swelling of the face and eyes. Unless you have had a history of this before and it has been confirmed to be migraine, I would assume something else. I would get it checked out. I'm no expert and others will reply I'm sure. However, I am being treated for GCA only and it was worse after I had laid down for a while. A week of morning mild headache with puffy eyes heralded the sudden start properly last weekend. In the end it woke me in the night. Watch those eyes or better still call 111.

Patience47 in reply to SnazzyD

Going to make appt. with Dr. as these migraine headaches are horrible.

Had Temporal Biopsy in 2014 that was negative, but that's a long time ago.

I live in the United States (Dallas, Texas area ) so there is no 111. However, it doesn't take long to see a Dr. here.

Thanks so much for your response.

SnazzyD in reply to Patience47

Sorry, shouldn't have assumed. Interesting to have seen a few US folks on this forum. Do I take it that there is no equivalent there?

I'm from the US as well. This group is the best around! Our 111 is probably 911. Gets you a trained person who dispatches police, ambulance, or fire department as needed.

Patience47 in reply to TooSore

Yes, I believe 111 is a non-emergency number. This group has been very helpful.

SnazzyD in reply to TooSore


We get emergency services with blue lights flashing with 999 and 111 was introduced to stop calls to 999 for a sore finger. Stories abound with ridiculous anecdotes on that one.

111 gets a call handler with a set protocol to follow and if enough boxes are ticked you get to speak to a doc. They then decide if you need to see one in the flesh and how soon. Info is given to manage their problem if not. Our pharmacists also do a lot of minor illness assessment too.

Anyone can walk into the ED but again they are swamped by those going they can't get to see their GP for their sore finger.

It looks like you have Vasculitis Foundation.org in the US.

PMRproAmbassador in reply to SnazzyD

111 are also very good at sending ambulances. And it hasn't made much difference to the requests for an ambo when it isn't really needed...

piglette in reply to SnazzyD

SnazzyD I thought 111 used to be NHS Direct until they decided to get a cheaper alternative.

SnazzyD in reply to piglette

It was but I think it has got better.

my experience is the exact opposite. Before PMR and prednisone, I would have migraines approx. 3 or 4 times a year. But in the last 2.5 years, I've only had one migraine and that was on a day when the migraine started at around 7.15 before I took the pred. Incredibly, it then cleared up within 2 or 3 hours. The pred. would seem, in my case, to be an excellent migraine treatment. Not seriously, of course.

An Emergency room doc told me a high dose of prednisone was helpful for migraines and she said people with multi-day migraines would show up pleading for pred for relief.

PMRproAmbassador in reply to SusanEleven

And not just anecdotal either:

"Corticosteroids are widely prescribed for the management of migraine attacks. The earliest clinical studies examining the efficacy of corticosteroid monotherapy for managing migraine attacks date back to 1952. Since then, 26 heterogeneous clinical studies and four meta-analyses have been conducted to assess the efficacy of corticosteroids in either aborting acute migraine attacks, prolonged migraine attacks or recurrent headaches. Most of these (86 %) studies employed different comparator arms with corticosteroids monotherapy administration while some studies (14 %) evaluated adjunctive corticosteroid therapy. The majority of these clinical studies revealed the superior efficacy of corticosteroids as mono- or adjunctive-therapy both for recurrent and acute migraine attacks, while the remaining showed non-inferior efficacy. Different forms of oral and parenteral corticosteroids in either single-dose or short-tapering schedules are prescribed; there are clinical studies supporting the efficacy of both methods. Corticosteroids can be administered safely up to six times annually. Corticosteroids are also useful in managing patients who frequent emergency departments with "medication-seeking behavior." Migraine patients with refractory headaches, history of recurrent headaches, severe baseline disability, and status migrainosus were found to have the most beneficial response from corticosteroid therapy."

Read it slowly and it is understandable!

I'd send a picture of my swollen eyes but I'm too vain! They're almost shut and purple red markings above the lids. The Rheumatologist says Prednisone. The eye Dr. says it's caused by scarring behind my eyes from cataract surgery four years ago . My GP is sending me for a cat scan to rule out a pituitary tumor. Not so far fetched as I've grown three other tumors. Hope the cause is discovered as my sight is dimming.

Daisyroo in reply to Mgeorge

I'm not sure how cataract surgery at the front of the eye can cause scarring at the back of the eye and why this would affect the outer eye area of the lids? Having cats removed can sometimes shake up a pre-existing macular condition and cause a bleed which leaves a permanent scar at the back of the eye but you say that was 4 years ago? And your problem is eyelids etc?. More explanations needed from eye specialist!

I agree! That's why I'm having the cat scan. I'm open to any more suggestions! Side effect of prednisone is probably #1. Hope I fine out for sure. Looks like at least another year on prednisone

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