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SYNOPSIS

Ergotamine tartrate has been recognized as the drug of first choice for the treatment of acute attacks of migraine. This paper draws attention to a common but poorly delineated state of addiction that can develop when ergotamine tartrate usage exceeds two or three days per week. This syndrome is characterized by a self-sustaining, rhythmic headache/medication cycle, with daily or almost daily migraine headaches and the irresistible and predictable use of ergotamine tartrate as the only means of alleviating the headache attacks. This report further delineates the clinical features, criteria for recognition, and treatment alternatives for this syndrome. In order to avoid this condition, usage should be restricted to 2 days per week.