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Pain Pract. 2015 Nov;15(8):701-5. doi: 10.1111/papr.12230. Epub 2014 Jul 12.

The Efficacy of Propofol vs. Subcutaneous Sumatriptan for Treatment of Acute Migraine Headaches in the Emergency Department: A Double-Blinded Clinical Trial.

Author information

  • 1Pain Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.
  • 2Department of Neurology, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.
  • 3Trauma Research Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.
  • 4Department of Laboratory Sciences, School of Paramedicine, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In this double-blinded, randomized trial, we hypothesized that propofol is as effective as sumatriptan in treating acute migraine headaches, with better control of nausea and vomiting, and fewer side effects.

METHODS:

Ninety cases of acute migraine attack admitted to the emergency department were randomly allocated into two treatment groups: (1) 6 mg of sumatriptan subcutaneously or (2) propofol injected intravenously in 30 to 40 mg boluses, followed by 10 to 20 mg intermittent bolus doses to sedate the patients to Ramsey score of 3 to 4. Headache severity was assessed using an 11-point visual analog scale before treatment and 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 2 hours after treatment. Accompanying symptoms, improvement in headache, and the need for anti-emetic therapy were also assessed.

RESULTS:

A total of 91 patients were enrolled in this study. One patient in the sumatriptan group was excluded due to severe chest tightness, and 90 patients were included in the final analysis. Pain intensity was significantly lower in the propofol group 30 minutes after treatment (P = 0.001); however, after 1 and 2 hours, there were no significant differences between the groups. The need for anti-emetic therapy and the recurrence of symptoms were significantly lower in the propofol group (P = 0.045 and P = 0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSION:

Propofol is equally suitable as sumatriptan for the acute treatment of migraine headaches in an emergency department setting. Moreover, the use of propofol avoids some of the adverse side effects of sumatriptan while providing better control of nausea and vomiting.

KEYWORDS:

emergency department; headache; migraine; propofol; sumatriptan; treatment

PMID:
25040321
DOI:
10.1111/papr.12230
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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