Aspartame & Susceptibility To Headache
Susan S. Schiffman, Ph.D., C. Edward Buckley III, M.D.,
H.A. Sampson, M.D., E.W. Massey, M.D.,
J.N. Baraniuk, M.D., J.V. Follett, M.D., and Z.S. Warwick,B.S.
We performed a double-blind
cross over trial of challenges with 30 mg of aspartame per kilogram of
body weight or placebo in 40 subjects who reported having headaches
repeatedly after consuming products containing aspartame. The
incidence rate of headache after aspartame (35 percent) was not
significantly different from that after placebo (45 percent) (P<0.50).
No serious reactions were observed, and the incidence of symptoms
other than headache following aspartame was also equivalent to that
after placebo. No treatment related effects were detected in vital
signs, blood pressure, or plasma concentrations of cortisol, insulin,
glucagon, histamine, epinephrine, or norepinephrine. Most of the
subjects were well educated and overweight and had a family or
personal history of allergic reactions. The subjects who had headaches
had lower plasma concentrations of norepinephrine (P<0.0002) and
epinephrine (P<0.02) just before the development of headache.We
conclude that in this population, aspartame is no more likely to
produce headache than placebo.
N Engl J Med 1987; 317:1181-5