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Intravenous Migraine Treatments

By Sarah Harding ; Updated August 14, 2017

According to HealthCentral.com, several Intravenous (IV) treatment options exist for migraine sufferers. These can be given in the emergency room or in an outpatient setting, such as a family clinic. Typically, IV treatment is used only on migraines that aren't responding to treatment. Various types of medications can be used in an IV for migraine. Some focus on reducing pain; others offer solutions for loosening the constriction of blood vessels in the brain, which is what causes the pain. The results of use, according to a study reviewed by HealthCentral.com, suggest the efficacy of the IV treatment to be 98 percent in patients studied.

Pain Blockers

The steroid dexamethasone (brand name Decadron) is often used for pain flare-ups or detoxification from analgesics, per HelpForHeadaches.com. By using a steroid, the individual can cease her other medications temporarily to eliminate her intolerance to the medication. Migraine sufferers can build up an intolerance to medications they use, often making them useless. Propofol is used as a pre-anesthetic agent that serves as a nerve blocker to prevent pain messages from being received by the brain. Similar to propofol are the pain blockers lidocaine, tramadol (brand name Ultram), levetiracetam (brand name Keppra) and ketamine. Per HelpForHeadaches.com, these medications work neurologically to decrease the transmission and reception of pain messages.


Migraine attacks are often accompanied by nausea with or without vomiting, the Mayo Clinic says. An IV application of metochlopramide (brand name Reglan), droperidol (brand name Inapsine) or promethazine (brand name Phenergan) may be administered to reduce the discomfort, per HelpForHeadaches.com. Typically, anti-nausea medications are given in addition to pain blockers or constriction-reducing drugs.

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Constriction Reduction

Magnesium Sulfate is often used as an "opening shot" for migraines and combined with anti-nausea medication, says HelpForHeadaches.com. The research is substantial on magnesium sulfate and its ability to treat migraines or cluster headaches, HelpForHeadaches.com says. Another similar compound that helps open constriction is dihydroergotamine (brand name DHE45). An antiseizure medication that was approved for use in 1994, valproate sodium (brand name Depacon), is now used to reduce the severity of migraines.

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