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Ther Adv Neurol Disord. 2011 May;4(3):183-91. doi: 10.1177/1756285611401647.

Management of vestibular migraine.

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  • 1Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch, rue Emile Mayrisch, Esch-sur-Alzette, 4003 Luxembourg.


Vestibular migraine is considered to be the second most common cause of vertigo and the most common cause of spontaneous episodic vertigo. The duration of attacks varies from seconds to days, usually lasting minutes to hours, and they mostly occur independently of headaches. Long-lasting individual attacks are treated with generic antivertiginous and antiemetic drugs. Specific antimigraine drugs are unlikely to be very effective for rescue. The mainstay of the management of vestibular migraine is prophylactic medication. To date, there are no controlled trials available; the body of knowledge builds on case series and retrospective or observational studies. Most drugs are also used for the prevention of migraine headaches. The choice of medication should be guided by its side effect profile and the comorbidities of patients. Betablockers such as propanolol or metoprolol are preferred in patients with hypertension but in the absence of asthma. Anticonvulsants include topiramate when patients are obese, valproic acid and lamotrigine. Lamotrigine is preferred if vertigo is more frequent than headaches. Calcium antagonists include verapamil and flunarizine. If patients have anxiety, tricyclic antidepressants such as amitryptiline or nortryptiline or SSRIs and benzodiazepines such as clonazepam are recommended. Acetazolamide is effective in rare genetic disorders related to migraine-like episodic ataxia; however, its place in vestibular migraine is still to be established. Nonpharmacological measures such as diet, sleep, hygiene and avoidance of triggers are recommended as they are for migraine. Vestibular rehabilitation might be useful when there are complications such as loss of confidence in balance or visual dependence.


anti-convulsants; beta-blockers; migraine; prophylaxis; vestibular

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