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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, Volume 15, Issue 4, April 2015, Page 13.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1007/s11910-015-0539-z. Copyright © Springer


Migraine is a frequently disabling disorder which may require inpatient treatment. Admission criteria for migraine include intractable migraine, nausea and/or vomiting, severe disability, and dependence on opioids or barbiturates. The inpatient treatment of migraine is based on observational studies and expert opinion rather than placebo-controlled trials. Well-established inpatient treatments for migraine include dihydroergotamine, neuroleptics/antiemetics, lidocaine, intravenous aspirin, and non-pharmacologic treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Short-acting treatments possibly associated with medication overuse, such as triptans, opioids, or barbiturate-containing compounds, are generally avoided. While the majority of persons with migraine are admitted on an emergency basis for only a few days, outcome studies and infusion protocols during elective admissions at tertiary headache centers suggest a longer length of stay may be needed for persons with intractable migraine.