BACKGROUND AND AIM: Migraine headache is commonly diagnosed in emergency departments (ED). There is relatively little real-world information about the epidemiology, investigation, management, adherence to therapeutic guidelines and disposition of patients treated in ED with a final diagnosis of migraine. The primary aim of the current study is to get a snapshot of assessment and management patterns of acute migraine presentations to the different settings of EDs with a view to raise awareness.

METHODS: This is a planned sub-study of a prospective study conducted in 67 health services in 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the UK investigating the epidemiology and outcome of adult patients presenting to ED with nontraumatic headache. Outcomes of interest for this study are demographics, clinical features (including severity), patterns of investigation, treatment, disposition, and outcome of patients diagnosed as having migraine as their final ED diagnosis.

RESULTS: The cohort comprises 1,101 patients with a mean age of 39 years (SD ± 13.5; 73.7% [811]) were female. Most patients had had migraine diagnosed previously (77.7%). Neuroimaging was performed in 25.9% with a very low diagnostic yield or significant findings (0.07%). Treatment of mild migraine was in accordance with current guidelines, but few patients with moderate or severe symptoms received recommended treatment. Paracetamol (46.3%) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (42.7%) were the most commonly prescribed agents. Metoclopramide (22.8%), ondansetron (19.2%), chlorpromazine (12.8%), and prochlorperazine (12.8%) were also used.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that therapeutic practices are not congruent with current guidelines, especially for patients with severe symptoms. Efforts to improve and sustain compliance with existing management best practices are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Emergency department
  • Epidemiology
  • Migraine disorders
  • Neuroimaging
  • Therapeutics


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