• droperidol;
  • migraine;
  • neuroleptics;
  • status migrainosus

We conducted a pilot study of intravenous droperidol in 35 patients (32 women and 3 men; mean age 43 years) with status migrainosus (n=25) or refractory migraine (n=10) in an ambulatory infusion center. Headache was graded as severe in 21 patients and moderate in 14. An intravenous line was started and kept open. Droperidol (2.5 mg) was given intravenously every 30 minutes until either three doses were given or the patient was completely or almost headache-free prior to the next dose.

Seven patients received one dose, 12 received two doses, and 16, three doses (mean 5.6 mg). Our success rate (headache-free or mild headache) was 88% (22 of 25) in patients with status migrainosus and 100% (10 of 10) in patients with refractory migraine. The average time to headache improvement was 40 minutes (n=35), to mild headache - 60 minutes (n=32), and to headache-free - 105 minutes (n=28). Nausea, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivity resolved in all but 5 patients. Four patients had an asymptomatic systolic blood pressure drop ≤ 20 mm Hg. Most patients were sedated (34 of 35). Five patients developed akathisia and I dystonia. At follow-up 24 hours after discharge, the recurrence rate (headache intensity from none or mild to moderate or severe) was 23% in status migrainosus and 10% in refractory migraine. Twenty-one patients were sedated, while 19 had extrapyramidal symptoms, mainly restlessness.

Droperidol is effective and safe in treating status migrainosus or refractory migraine. Hypotension was uncommon. Patients should be warned of sedation and akathisia.