High Blood Pressure And Migraine: Can It Cause An Attack?

Written and verified by Holly Hazen


The relationship between high blood pressure and migraine is complex and very real.

High blood pressure is also called hypertension. The measurement of the force, which is put against the walls of your arteries as the blood is pumped from the heart through the body, is considered your blood pressure. The number on the top is what is referred to as the SBP (systolic blood pressure) and the number on the bottom is referred to as the DBP (diastolic blood pressure). Normal blood pressure is considered to be when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80.

Recurring migraine attacks can be a sign that you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, but having migraine disease can also put you at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. [1]


Migraine disease can also put you at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure @migrainesavvyMigraine disease can also put you at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure @migrainesavvy

Can high blood pressure cause migraines?

The cause of high blood pressure is not always known and this is considered essential hypertension. But medications such as migraine medications can have the effects of raising your blood pressure. The question that some researchers are not sure of is, does the hypertension actually trigger the migraine attack or do the migraine attacks trigger the hypertension.

One of the things that should be considered, is the blood pressure only elevated during the migraine and not at other times? If your blood pressure is high when you don't have a migraine and are not in pain, it is very important that it be treated. One thing to keep in mind when talking with your physician is that there are some medications for high blood pressure that are also effective with some people for migraines. It is always a good thing when one medication can do both.

Main complications of persistent high blood pressure @migrainesavvyMain complications of persistent high blood pressure @migrainesavvy

Is there one pill to treat both high blood pressure and migraine?

Is there one pill that is recommended to treat both? Angiotensin receptor blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors have been shown to provide effective migraine prophylaxis and for the treatment of hypertension. This may be an option for the hypertensive patient with migraine headaches. Examples of ARB or angiotensin receptor blocker, are Cozaar or Diovan and examples of ACE inhibitors or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, are Vasotec or Lotensin. 

This is at time of writing the article, and as new medications are being invented all the time, be sure to check with your primary care physician on all available options.

Migraine medications usually cause the blood vessels in your head to constrict causing the side effect of increasing your blood pressure. There are other medications that can also increase your blood pressure such as birth control, hormones, antidepressants, asthma, stimulants, and steroid medications. But if you suffer from migraine, especially if you have a previous history of hypertension, discuss these medications with your physician prior to taking them.

The list of migraine medications that typically increase blood pressure is:

  • Zomig
  • Midrin
  • Imitrex
  • Frova
  • Migranal Nasal Spray, DHE 45
  • Cafergot
  • Axert

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Normal blood pressure is considered to be when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80. What’s yours during an attack? @migrainesavvyHigh blood pressure and migraine. Does the hypertension actually trigger the migraine attack or do the migraine attacks trigger the hypertension? Come find out @migrainesavvy


The main concern is to determine if the elevation in your blood pressure is being caused by your migraine attack or perhaps one of your migraine medications. Keep a diary of your blood pressure and talk with your physician. If you have a history of problems with your blood pressure then the meds could be aggravating it. If you have no history of blood pressure problems, your physician may want to look at what medications you are taking for your migraine management strategy and consider changing them.

Always continue the treatment plan for both your high blood pressure and migraine disorder if you have a history. Talk with your physician and come up with a plan that will be best for you. If your blood pressure is elevated seek medical attention as soon as possible. The side effects that occur because of your hypertension could potentially be severe, so don't wait if you are having problems, contact your physician or if you feel it is necessary, go to the emergency room.


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Until next time, be well and be pain free.

Until next time, be well and be pain free, Holly @migrainesavvy




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High Blood Pressure and Migraine Post Ref:
1. Every Day Health (2021) What You Need to Know About Migraine and High Blood Pressure. Available [online] at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/migraine/what-you-need-to-know-about-migraine-and-high-blood-pressure/