Metoclopramide is a well-known anti-emetic drug with central and peripheral pharmacological effects. Some authors have reported metoclopramide as an adjunct therapy to other analgesics in patients with migraine attacks. Treatment of migraine headache using a mix of metoclopramide and an NSAID has been patented (European Patent EP1014961) as well as a short series showing great efficacy and tolerability of metoclopramide in patients wtih migraine attacks. We decided to conduct an open, single-blind, parallel control study in the emergency department to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of metoclopramide in patients with severe migraine attacks.
93 consecutive patients with severe migraine attacks were randomized into two groups (groups A and B). Patients in group A received 10mg of intravenous metoclopramide and patients in group B received 1 g of intravenous paracetamol. Patients were evaluated 5minutes before (baseline), 15, 30, 60 and 120 minutes after drug delivery, and before being discharged from the emergency department They were then contacted by phone 48 hours after being discharged from the hospital (phone questionnaire).
Patients treated with either metoclopramide or paracetamol showed a significant reduction in the intensity of pain at the 120 minute time point, with an 86% and 82% improvement respectively. However, patients treated with metoclopramide showed a more rapid improvement at the 15 and 30 minute evaluations.
Patients with severe migraine attacks treated with metoclopramide as monotherapy showed a significant improvement in terms of pain relief and a faster improvement in pain intensity compared to those treated with paracetamol. Metoclopramide and other dopamine antagonistic drugs should be considered a therapeutic option in severe migraine headache attacks