Practically all migraine attacks are not considered life-threatening and can be cared for with migraine treatments. One of a few exceptions is status migrainosus, which is a type of migraine that is considered dangerous and requires emergency medical care.
Status migrainosus refers to a migraine attack that lasts longer than 72 hours. It is more serious than a regular migraine because the prolonged symptoms, like vomiting, can cause a patient to get dangerously dehydrated. Hospital treatment is required for powerful medications to stop the migraine, and to receive intravenous fluids to combat dehydration.
Status migrainosus is generally preventable. A typical migraine can become status migrainosus if a person:
- Does not receive proper treatment.
- Does not receive treatment early in the migraine attack cycle.
- Takes too much headache medicine in the hopes of alleviating migraine pain.
The symptoms associated with status migrainosus are the same as the symptoms associated with any migraine, but they last longer. These symptoms include:
- Changes in vision
- Difficulty concentrating
How is status migrainosus treated?
Status migrainosus requires a trip to the emergency room and potentially a stay in the hospital for treatment. Treatment targets the underlying migraine, along with the dangerous symptoms, like vomiting, which can cause life-threatening dehydration.
To help stop the migraine, many standard migraine drugs will be be administered by IV, nasal spray or suppository. This is because most patients with status migrainosus have severe vomiting and pills cannot be kept down and absorbed. Other medications will be given to treat the symptoms of the migraine, including pain, nausea and vomiting. Steroids are sometimes used to treat status migrainosus. All patients will also receive fluids through an IV, to treat the most serious complication of status migrainosus: dehydration.
Like any migraine, there is no surefire solution to treat status migrainosus. Instead, doctors may try a number of treatments to help a patient minimize status migrainosus and the accompanying symptoms.
Additionally, many emergency room and hospital status migrainosus treatments are designed to deliver instant relief, often not addressing the root causes of migraine symptoms. Status migrainosus patients may receive temporary migraine relief from these medications, but they may not treat prolonged migraines in the future.
What should I do if my migraine lasts more than 72 hours?
When it comes to status migrainosus, diligence is key. If a person has a migraine for over 72 hours, this individual has status migrainosus and must receive immediate medical attention. After an emergency room or hospital visit, a status migrainosus patient should follow up with their neurologist to ensure they are receiving the best medical treatment to prevent future attacks. Patients who have experienced status migrainosus generally suffer from chronic migraines, and should visit The Migraine Institute to find out if they qualify for long-lasting Botox or surgery treatment..
Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute is committed to helping patients identify long-term solutions to migraines, like status migrainosus. As a board-certified head and neck surgeon with dual-subspecialty training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, Dr. Cabin provides two interventional treatments to help migraine patients achieve long-lasting relief:
- Botox for migraines involves the use of Botox injections to reduce or eliminate nerve irritability that can trigger painful migraines.
- Minimally Invasive Migraine Surgery helps remove faulty nerve signals that can cause migraines.
During a consultation, Dr. Cabin will learn about an individual’s migraine symptoms and gather critical information about the patient’s migraine history. Then, Dr. Cabin will provide personalized interventional migraine treatment recommendations.
There is no need to let migraine symptoms linger for an extended period of time. By scheduling a consultation with Dr. Cabin, migraine sufferers can take the first step to reducing migraine suffering.
To set up a migraine consultation, please call us today at 310.461.0303 or fill out our online form.