Clinical Experience With Patient Administered Subcutaneous Dihydroergotamine Mesylate in Refractory Headaches




This study examines the practicality and efficacy of dihydroergotamine mesylate (DHE) when self-administered sub-cutaneously in a population of refectory headache patients. Forty-three patients with chronic daily headache or migraine headache without aura, who had been taught self-injection of DHE either through the Raskin Protocol or in an outpatient headache clinic, were contacted by telephone and administered a questionnaire regarding usage and results from DHE injection. Ninety-two percent of patients could successfully administer DHE. Forty-six percent of patients experienced 90% or greater relief of pain and the majority of patients (77%) had greater than 50% relief. Emergency room use was decreased in 83% and 80% preferred DHE to their previous therapy. While side effects were common (79%), only four patients (9%) stopped DHE for this reason. No convincing evidence for the development of rebound headaches due to DHE was found in this sample.