Headache can be induced by histamine in wine in patients suffering from histamine intolerance, a disease characterized by impaired histamine degradation based on reduced diamine oxidase activity or a lack of the enzyme. Diamine oxidase is localized in the jejunal mucosa and is the most important enzyme metabolising histamine. It is competitively inhibited by alcohol and numerous drugs. In preliminary investigations, assessment of diamine oxidase levels gave decreased activity (0.03 nKat/l) in patients with histamine intolerance compared to healthy controls (0.07 nKat/l). In pregnancy, diamine oxidase levels are known to be about 500-fold elevated, giving mean levels of 25.0 nKat/l. Other biogenic amines such as phenylethylamine or serotonin may be causative for wine/food-induced headache. In experimental models, headache has been induced by histamine infusion as well as red wine provocation. Histamine-induced headache is a vascular headache likely to be caused by nitric oxide which probably represents a key molecule in vascular headaches. A histamine-free diet is the treatment of choice for patients with histamine intolerance and chronic headache. To start treatment, an antihistamine (H1 blocker) for 14 days as well as a histamine-free diet for at least 4 weeks are recommended. Clinical improvement to the diet as well as in vitro tests for plasma histamine and diamine oxidase in the serum as well as vitamin B6 levels have to confirm the diagnosis. As supportive treatment, a vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate) substitution appears useful in histamine-intolerant patients as pyridoxal phosphate seems to be crucial for diamine oxidase activity. Histamine intolerance, based on reduced diamine oxidase activity or a lack in the enzyme is causative for wine/food-induced chronic headache. According to the localization of diamine oxidase in the jejunal mucosa, histamine intolerance is primarily a disease of intestinal origin. A histamine-free diet is the treatment of choice in histamine-intolerant patients suffering from chronic headache. In addition, it is also important to avoid diamine-oxidase-blocking drugs and alcohol which act as inhibitors of diamine oxidase. As avoidance of histamine-rich food is a simple, inexpensive and harmless treatment, histamine-containing food such as cheese and alcoholic beverages should be labeled.

This content is only available via PDF.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.