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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sedative Dosing Of Propofol For Treatment Of Migraine Headache In The Emergency Department: A Case Series

  • Author(s): Mosier, Jarrod
  • Roper, Grant
  • Hays, PharmD, Daniel
  • Guisto, John
  • et al.

Introduction: Migraine headaches requiring an emergency department visit due to failed outpatient rescue therapy present a significant challenge in terms of length of stay (LOS) and financial costs. Propofol therapy may be effective at pain reduction and reduce that length of stay given its pharmacokinetic properties as a short acting intravenous sedative anesthetic and pharmacodynamics on GABA mediated chloride flux.Methods: Case series of 4 patients presenting to an urban academic medical center with migraine headache failing outpatient therapy. Each patient was given a sedation dose (1 mg/kg) of propofol under standard procedural sedation precautions.Results: Each of the 4 patients experienced dramatic reductions or complete resolution of headache severity. LOS for 3 of the 4 patients was 50% less than the average LOS for patients with similar chief complaints to our emergency department. 1 patient required further treatment with standard therapy but had a significant reduction in pain and a shorter LOS. There were no episodes of hypotension, hypoxia, or apnea during the sedations.Conclusion: In this small case series, sedation dose propofol appears to be effective and safe for the treatment of refractory migraines, and may result in a reduced LOS. [West J Emerg Med. 2013;14(6):646-649.]

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