Aspirin Intravenously Relieves Migraine
For individuals hospitalized with headache and migraine and undergoing drug withdrawal, aspirin (lysine acetylsalicylate) could be a cheap, safe and effective treatment option. Findings from Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco revealed IV aspirin had a “moderate” effect on headache pain among study participants.
Researchers examined the medical records of 168 people between the ages of 18 and 75, hospitalized with chronic headache, defined as persisting for 15 days or more to discover the effects of aspirin on headache. Most of the participants were women, and all but three reported daily pain, primarily from migraine.
The only side effects were nausea, pain at the IV injection site and vomiting that occurred in six percent of the patients – none of the side effects were sever. The average amount of aspirin was five one gram doses. Eighty six participants kept an hourly diary of pain levels, gauged on a one to ten scale. Forty percent reported a moderate level of relief.
Patients with severe headache rated on a scale 8 to 10, experienced relief to moderate pain more than 25 percent of the time. For mild headache, IV aspirin completely eliminated pain. On the pain scale, headache was generally reduced by three points.
IV Aspirin Cost Effective for Migraine, but More Studies needed
A drawback of the study is that the patients knew they were receiving treatment versus placebo….”although placebo-controlled trials have shown intravenous aspirin is effective in acute migraine,” said Peter J. Goadsby, MD, PhD, with the Department of Neurology. “Our findings warrant more research into the use of IV aspirin for severe headache or migraine”, but points out that aspirin could provide a safe and effective headache treatment in the United States.
Intravenous aspirin is used in Europe and on a limited basis in the UK. It is not easily obtained in the United States. Authors of a 2005 study, published in “Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain”, recommended further research following findings that aspirin, given IV, was effective for acute, intractable head and face pain. The medication was given over 3 to 5 minutes at a dose of 497 mg for common migraine, vascular headache and trigeminal neuralgia. Background information from the article states aspirin for intravenous use has been available in Japan since 1983.
Aspirin given intravenously could offer an option for headache and migraine sufferers that is cost effective and safe. Past studies have shown treatment success for common migraines, vascular headache and trigeminal neuralgia. Until more studies are done, no recommendations are being made about its use.
Neurology, Sep 2010; 75: 1098 - 1103
Headache: DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.1988.hed2801047.x