Although for most people migraine attacks are not life threatening, a migraine lasting longer than 72 hours can be dangerous and constitutes an emergency. This condition is known as Status Migrainosus (or Status Migraine or Status Migrainous) and has been known to lead to stroke in some rare instances.
Status Migrainosus is defined in the International Headache Society classification system as “a debilitating migraine attack lasting longer than 72 hours.” It must meet the following diagnostic criteria:
A. The patient’s current attack is typical of previous migraine attacks except for the duration.
B. The attack both:
1. Lasts for more than 72 hours and
2. Is of severe intensity.
C. The attack is not attributable to another disorder.
For patients dealing with Status Migrainosus, even if they have treatment medications that typically abort their attacks, they find their medications either ineffective or unable to completely end the attack. A doctor who knows how to treat Status Migrainosus will typically give you any of a variety of medications by IV, such as DHE, magnesium, Benedryl, Depakote, lidocaine, an anti-nausea medication like Reglan or Phenergan and/or Ketolorac. They should also make sure you’re properly hydrated. If you can keep water down, you need to be drinking as much as you can. If you can’t keep anything down, they should give you IV fluids.
IHS Classification ICHD-II: Status Migrainosus
Case Studies: Status Migrainosus
American Heart Association: TIA
Migraines: Myth vs. Reality
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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain, and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.