Infusion Therapy for Headache

Intravenous medication infusions are used to end refractory headaches and for detoxification of patients with medication overuse contributing to headaches. This headache treatment in an ambulatory setting provides a more comfortable and less expensive alternative to emergency department care and can be a useful component of a comprehensive headache management strategy.

Outcomes of Infusion Therapy for Headache (N = 526)


In 2019, the Center for Headache and Facial Pain reviewed 1676 infusion treatments in 526 headache patients. On a 0 to 10 scale (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain),¹ there were 1096 pretreatment pain ratings ≥ 4 and191 pretreatment dizziness ratings ≥ 4 on the Modified Borg Dizziness Rating Scale.² Clinically meaningful improvement for both pain and dizziness was defined as a change of > 2.5 points. After infusion treatments, 40% of patients reported improved headache and ˃ 50% of patients reported improved dizziness scores.

  1. Farrar JT, Pritchett YL, Robinson M, Prakash A, Chappell A. The clinical importance of changes in the 0 to 10 numeric rating scale for worst, least, and average pain intensity: analyses of data from clinical trials of duloxetine in pain disorders. J Pain. 2010 Feb;11(2):109-118.
  2. Prost E, Abbot C. Examination Tool Kit, University of Missouri. Modified Borg Dizziness Rating Scale. http://geriatrictoolkit.missouri.edu/vest/Borg-dizzy.pdf. Accessed April 2, 2018.