2013 Volume 53 Issue 9 Pages 721-723
We present a case of a patient with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) triggered by nicotine patches. A-50-year-old woman had no medical history and no regular medication. She smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 30 years. Six days after using nicotine patches, she had recurrent severe headaches of sudden onset (thunderclap headaches). On examination, the blood pressure was 142/88 mmHg. Her neurological and general examination, laboratory serum investigations, and cerebrospinal fluid examination were normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) including magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) on admission, day 10 after the first episode showed severe multifocal segmental narrowing of the bilateral posterior cerebral artery (PCA). Cessation of nicotine patches and administration of calcium-channel antagonist amlodipine 5 mg daily ameliorated her headache. Follow-up MRA, 37 days after the first episode, showed improvement of PCA stenosis. We diagnosed her as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) due to nicotine patches. It is important to recognize nicotine patches as a trigger of RCVS.