Intravenous migraine therapy in children with posttraumatic headache in the ED☆,☆☆,★

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More than 3.8 million children sustain traumatic brain injuries annually. Treatment of posttraumatic headache (PTH) in the emergency department (ED) is variable, and benefits are unclear.


The objective of the study is to determine if intravenous migraine therapy reduces pain scores in children with PTH and factors associated with improved response.


This was a retrospective study of children, 8 to 21 years old, presenting to a tertiary pediatric ED with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and PTH from November 2009 to June 2013. Inclusion criteria were mTBI (defined by diagnosis codes) within 14 days of ED visit, headache, and administration of one or more intravenous medications: ketorolac, prochlorperazine, metoclopramide, chlorpromazine, and ondansetron. Primary outcome was treatment success defined by greater than or equal to 50% pain score reduction during ED visit. Bivariate analysis and logistic regression were used to determine predictors of treatment success: age, sex, migraine or mTBI history, time since injury, ED head computed tomographic (CT) imaging, and pretreatment with oral analgesics.


A total of 254 patients were included. Mean age was 13.8 years, 51% were female, 80% were white, mean time since injury was 2 days, and 114 patients had negative head CTs. Eighty-six percent of patients had treatment success with 52% experiencing complete resolution of headache. Bivariate analysis showed that patients who had a head CT were less likely to respond (80% vs 91%; P = .008).


Intravenous migraine therapy reduces PTH pain scores for children presenting within 14 days after mTBI. Further prospective work is needed to determine long-term benefits of acute PTH treatment in the ED.

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