Open Access

Hangover headache: various manifestations and proposal for criteria. Vågå study of headache epidemiology

The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches5:131

Received: 2 March 2004

Accepted: 24 May 2004


Hangover headache has been focused upon in connection with the Vågå study of headache epidemiology, with 714 cases among 1122 dalesmen (64%). Most frequently the headache was global in location. It was more frequently located in the anterior (frontotemporal) than occipital area. A unilateral headache was present in only 3% of the dalesmen, many of whom were migraineurs. Headache seemed to be more intense in males than females. Headache usually seemed to be of a lower intensity than the pain of migraine, but higher than, or similar to, that of tension-type headache. The headache appeared late in the night/early morning hours, i. e., several hours after discontinuation of drinking. In most cases, headache stopped in the late morning hours, or at high noon, but it could even last until somewhat late in the afternoon; it rarely, if ever, exceeded 12 hours duration. Red wine seemed mostly to provoke headache the same evening (with traits similar to those of the spontaneously occurring headache attacks). Criteria for hangover headache are proposed.

Key words

HeadacheHangover headacheMigraineAlcoholRed wine