Toxic Effects of Ergotamine Used for Migraine




Forty-three patients (6 males and 37 females) who had used ergotamine tartrate 10 mg or more per week continuously over six months were studied. Twenty (47%) of the patients had symptoms and signs compatible with ergotism. This group had not used more ergotamine tartrate than the group, free of symptoms. Of the patients with symptoms, 13 had cardiovascular symptoms and 5 had clinical signs of peripheral neuropathy. Forty-three per cent of the patients examined had a normal electroencephalogram and the remainder relatively slight abnormalities. Eight patients had signs of peripheral neuropathy in their electroneuromyographic examination., The neurophthalmological examinations were all normal. Eighteen of 23 patients examined psychologically and psychiatrically were characterized as neurotic. Concomitant diseases were more often seen in the group with symptoms of ergotism; it is especially notable that all patients with collagen or diabetic disorders belonged to this group.