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Abortive Migraine Therapy in the Office with Dexamethasone and Prochlorperazine


Hanna A. Saadah, M.D., F.A.C.P., Mercy Health Center, 4205 McAuley Boulevard, Suite 400, Oklahoma City, OK 73120



Corticosteroids are commonly used in the abortive therapy of status migrainosus. However, this practice is based more on clinical experience than on published data. At my office, over a period of two years, 108 patients (156 migraine episodes) were treated with intravenous dexamethasone. Most of these patients had prolonged migraines that had resisted other forms of abortive therapy. The first 22 patients (32 migraine episodes) were given 10 mg of dexamethasone over 5 minutes, the next 39 patients (55 migraine episodes) were given 20 mg over 10 minutes, and the last 47 patients (69 migraine episodes) were given 3.5 mg of prochlorperazine over 5 minutes followed by 20 mg of dexamethasone over 10 minutes. Adverse effects were minor and patients with episodic migraines responded more favorably than those with intractable migraines. In the episodic migraine groups, response rates ranged from 80–89%, relapse rates from 29–35%, and remission rates from 57–83%. After the intravenous injections, repetitive oral abortive therapy was often required to treat relapses and secure remission. Adding 3.5 mg of pro-chlorperazine to 20 mg of intravenous dexamethasone significantly shortened the response time.

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