Continuous Unilateral Cephalalgia Due to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Case Report




Headache, Unilateral cephalalgia, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Corticosteroid therapy , Inflammation


Hemicrania continua is a rare form of cephalalgia featuring a chronic and persistent headache in only one side of the head.
In this report, we present a case of a patient with hemicrania continua and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
We collected patient data through the electronic medical record. Afterward, we reviewed the literature regarding hemicrania continua and its pathophysiology and correlation with neurovascular alterations, inflammation, and SLE.
A 42-year-old woman visited the emergency department due to worsening constant unilateral cephalalgia that had been present for the past 6 months. The patient reported a highly intense (10/10) headache in the entire left hemicrania that radiated to the left shoulder. During physical examination, she presented with nystagmus, vertigo, and aggravated cephalalgia associated to body movement and, despite having no optic nerve thickening. In addition, she had jaundice, tachycardia, and splenomegaly. Complimentary exams found deep anemia, depletion in complement system and anti-nuclear factors, suggesting a possible hemolytic anemia (AIHA) due to SLE. Treatment was initiated with hydrocortisone and prednisone, associated with amitriptyline, fluoxetine and diazepam, reaching full remission. These syndromes have aggravated each other, and possibly the explanation for the cephalalgia remission was the control of AIHA and SLE. It features a rare case in literature and thus warrants discussion.


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Author Biographies

Lucas Teixeira, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul

Undergraduate student at Medicine School, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Matheus Cruz, Adjunt Professor at Medicine School

Adjunt Professor at Medicine School, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Adjunt Professor at Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil.


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How to Cite

Teixeira L, Cruz M. Continuous Unilateral Cephalalgia Due to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Case Report. Headache Med [Internet]. 2024 Mar. 28 [cited 2024 May 23];15(1):35-7. Available from:



Case Report