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Acad Emerg Med. 1995 Jul;2(7):597-602.

Intravenous chlorpromazine vs intravenous metoclopramide in acute migraine headache.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Joseph's Health Center, London, Ontario, Canada.



To compare the efficacy of IV chlorpromazine with that of IV metoclopramide in the treatment for acute migraine headache in the ED.


A prospective randomized double-blind trial was undertaken at two university-affiliated urban EDs with a combined annual census of more than 85,000 patients. Included in the study were patients presenting to the ED with a diagnosis of migraine headache. The subjects were randomized to receive 0.1 mg/kg/dose IV of either chlorpromazine (CPZ) or metoclopramide (MC), up to a total of three doses.


Ninety-one patients completed the protocol; 44 received MC and 47 received CPZ. The demographics of the two groups were similar. Both drugs provided, for the majority of patients, adequate pain relief as measured on a visual analog scale (VAS) completed every 15 minutes from T = 0 minutes to T = 45 minutes. The average pain relief over 45 minutes (delta VAS) for CPZ was 4.87 cm, vs 4.34 cm for MC (p = 0.35). There also was no statistically significant difference in blood pressure (BP) changes (delta BP < 2 mm Hg for both systolic and diastolic BPs, p = 0.47 and 0.33) or numbers of patients reporting adverse effects (AEs) (CPZ: 16 of 35; MC: 13 of 29, p = 0.43). There was no severe AE with either study drug.


Metoclopramide and chlorpromazine administered IV are both effective in the management of acute migraine headache. They are associated with similar minor side-effect profiles.

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