In medicine, a prodrome is an early symptom (or set of symptoms) that might indicate the start of a disease before specific symptoms occur. Prodromes may be non-specific symptoms or, in a few instances, may clearly indicate a a particular disease, such as the prodromal migraine aura.
For example fever, malaise, headache and lack of appetite frequently occur in the prodrome of many infective disorders. A prodrome can be the precursor to the onset of a chronic neurological disorder such as migraine or epilepsy, where prodrome symptoms include euphoria, scotoma, disorientation, aphasia, or photosensitivity.
It also refers to the initial in vivo round of viral replication.
Prodromal labour, mistakenly called "false labour," refers to the early signs before labour starts.
A prodrome for schizophrenia is the period of decreased functioning that is postulated to correlate with the onset of psychotic symptoms. The concept has been reconsidered as the pathways to emerging psychosis have been investigated since the mid 1990's. . The term at risk mental state is sometimes preferred, as a prodromal period can not be confirmed unless the emergence of the condition has occurred. (also see early psychosis).