What Is Status Migrainosus?

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Migraine has now been shown to be a genetic neurological disease characterized by flare-ups often called “migraine attacks.” A headache can be one symptom of a migraine attack, but it’s just that—one of the possible symptoms. Some migraineurs (people with Migraine disease) have migraine attacks without having a headache.

When a migraineur does experience the headache phase of a migraine attack, it generally lasts from 4 to 72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated). The International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition, defines status migrainosus as:

Description: A debilitating migraine attack lasting for more than 72 hours.

Diagnostic Criteria:

A. Typical of previous attacks except for duration.

B. Headache has both of the following features:

C. Not attributed to another disorder

  • Unremitting for more than 72 hours
  • Severe intensity

A general rule of thumb recommended by many Migraine specialists is:

If moderate to severe Migraine pain lasts more than 72 hours, with less than a solid four-hour pain-free period, while awake, it should be considered an emergency requiring an office call or a trip to the emergency room.

Why is it important that status Migrainosus be treated?
Patients with SM should seek medical attention not only to control their severe headache, but also to treat the dehydration often present secondary to decreased oral intake and vomiting. In addition, status migrainosus can be complicated by swelling of the brain and at times strokes, reinforcing the need for a prompt treatment. 

There you have the condensed answer to, “What Is status Migrainosus?” For more information, here is some other content that will expand on this.

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