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 = 431)


In 2018, the Section of Headache and Facial Pain reviewed 1333 infusion treatments in 431 headache patients. There were 869 pretreatment pain ratings ≥ 4 on a 0–10 scale (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain),¹ and 153 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.