II. Management: General Pointers

  1. Consider abortive agent sparing measures
    1. See Headache General Measures
    2. See Migraine Prophylaxis
    3. Establish Migraine Management Clinic Schedule
  2. Avoid use of abortive agents more than twice per week
    1. Frequent use results in Rebound Headache
    2. NSAIDs are unlikely to cause Rebound Headache
  3. Gastrointestinal motility drugs improve efficacy
    1. Metoclopramide (Reglan)
      1. Dose: 10 mg PO 20-30 minutes before pre-medication
      2. Extrapyramidal Side Effects
        1. Dystonic Reaction (especially in children)
      3. Antiemetic effect in addition to increased motility
  4. Antiemetics may be very useful in abortive treatment
    1. Alleviate Nausea associated with Headache
    2. Sedation to allow rest despite Headache
    3. Increases medication absorption (e.g. Reglan)
  5. Combined therapies may be helpful in refractory cases
    1. Aspirin and Metoclopramide
      1. Aspirin 975 mg PO (three 325 mg tablets)
      2. Metoclopramide (Reglan) 10 mg PO
    2. DHE and Vistaril Combination
      1. DHE-45 1 mg IM
      2. Vistaril 75 mg IM

III. Management: Oral Analgesics

  1. General
    1. Beware Rebound Headaches with most Analgesics
  2. Analgesics with proven efficacy
    1. Excedrin Migraine (Acetaminophen, Aspirin, Caffeine)
    2. Aspirin 975 mg PO (with or without Metoclopramide)
    3. Midrin (Isometheptene, Dichloralphenazone, Tylenol)
      1. Dose: 2 stat at Headache onset
      2. Repeat 1 each hour prn
      3. Maximum: 5 pills per 12 hours, 20 pills per month
      4. Limit use to no more than 2 days per week
    4. Anaprox, Aleve (NaproxenSodium)
      1. Absorbed more rapidly than Naprosyn
      2. Initial Dose: 825 mg (Three 275 mg tablets)
      3. Repeat 220 to 550 mg every 3-4 hours
      4. Maximum: 1.5 grams per day (5 to 6 tablets per day)
  3. Analgesics to be avoided (low efficacy and higher risk)
    1. Cafergot (Ergotamine with Caffeine)
      1. Dose: 2 PO stat with Headache onset
      2. Repeat one tablet every half hour prn
      3. Maximum: 4 to 6 pills per day or 10 per week
    2. Fiorinal (ASA 325mg, Caffeine 40mg, Butalbital 50mg)
      1. Dose: 2 tablets at Headache onset
      2. Repeat one tablet every 4 to 6 hours prn
      3. Maximum: 5 pills per day or 15 per month
      4. Limit use to no more than 2 days per week
      5. Risk of Rebound Headaches with use more than 5 days per month
    3. Esgic or Fioricet (Tylenol, Caffeine, Butalbital)
      1. Same dosing recommendations and precautions as for Fiorinal
      2. Precaution: Pharmaceutical obfuscation alert
        1. Fioricet brand name capsules (Watson) as of 2014 will contain 300 mg Acetaminophen (at 4x the generic cost)
        2. Fioricet generic tablets will contain 325 mg Acetaminophen (making automatic substitution difficult)
        3. One more reason not to prescribe fioricet (other Migraine abortive agents are preferred)
        4. (2014) Presc Lett 21(3)

IV. Management: Parenteral Analgesics

  1. See Emergency Department Migraine Headache Care
  2. See Serotonin Agonists (Triptans) below
  3. See Opioids below (avoid if possible)
  4. Ketorolac (Toradol)
    1. Dose: 30-60 mg IM
    2. May repeat 15-30 mg q6h
    3. Do not exceed 5 consecutive days of use
    4. May supplement with rectal Antiemetic

V. Management: Rectal Analgesics (indicated for Vomiting)

  1. Rectal Antiemetics
    1. Promethazine (Phenergan) 12.5 to 25 mg PR q4-6 hours
    2. Prochlorperazine (Compazine) 25 mg PR q12 hours
  2. Rectal Analgesics
    1. Indomethacin 50 mg, 1-2 PR at Headache onset
  3. Serotonin Agonist
    1. Ergotamine tartrate (Wigraine) suppository
    2. Use Ergotamine with caution due to adverse effects

VI. Management: Serotonin Agonists

VII. Management: Opioids (Avoid if possible)

  1. Indications
    1. Patients failing non-Opioid therapy
    2. Much less desirable for Headache Management
      1. Non-specific for Headache
      2. Addictive potential
  2. Acetaminophen with Codeine (Tylenol #3)
    1. Not recommended due to adverse effects
    2. Equivalent to Aspirin 975 mg PO
    3. Boureau (1994) Cephalalgia 14:156-61 [PubMed]
  3. Stadol-NS (Butorphanol)
    1. Addictive (Class IV regulated substance)
    2. Dosing
      1. Stadol 1 spray in one nostril, repeat hourly prn
      2. Maximum 4 sprays per day or 6 sprays per week
      3. Limit to 2 days per week
  4. Meperidine (Demerol)
    1. Not recommended due to adverse effects
    2. Up to 150 mg initial dose
    3. May repeat 50-100 mg q3-4 hours
    4. Equivalent to Dihydroergotamine IV/IM with Vistaril
    5. Carleton (1998) Ann Emerg Med 32:129-38 [PubMed]

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