A rational approach to the management of chronic migraine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


About 2% of the adult population has chronic migraine with only 20% diagnosed with this disorder. Those with medication overuse may improve with withdrawal of overuse medications. The intravenous dihydroergotamine regimen usually produces short-term benefit for those with medically refractory chronic migraine. OnabotulinumtoxinA and topiramate have shown efficacy in large placebo-controlled randomized trials. Sodium valproate, gabapentin, tizanidine, amitriptyline, fluoxetine, zonisamide, and possibly memantine may be alternative or possibly combined treatment options but with lesser levels of evidence supporting their use. Preliminary evidence suggests that nerve blocks might be beneficial. Acupuncture, biofeedback, relaxation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy might be of benefit. Surgical treatments including bariatric and deactivation of trigger points are of growing interest but not appropriate for most sufferers. Occipital nerve stimulation is a promising treatment with ongoing studies defining its use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-176
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • chronic migraine
  • medication overuse
  • prevention
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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