Intravenous sodium valproate aborts migraine headaches rapidly

R. Shahien, S. A. Saleh, A. Bowirrat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objectives- This preliminary study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of intravenous sodium valproate in managing severe migraine headache. Design/methods- In a preliminary prospective open-label study, we treated patients with severe migraine headache using intravenous sodium valproate, after obtaining written informed consent. Thirty-six patients, hospitalized with acute established migraine, were infused with sodium valproate. The diagnosis of migraine was based on the International Headache Society classification criteria. Severity of headache was reported on 10-point visual analog. Disability was assessed on a five-point scale. Primary and secondary endpoints were measured as sustained pain relief and symptoms improvement at 2h, respectively. Results - The study participants had a mean±SD age of 35.7±9.3years. The loading dose of sodium valproate was 900-1200mg, and the average time to best response for headache severity was 50min. A reduction in pain from severe or moderate to mild or no pain in 60min was reported in 75% of patients [OR=7.187 (95% confidence intervals: 1.32-38.95)]. After treatment with sodium valproate, headache severity was significantly decreased (P<0.0001). No serious adverse events were reported. Conclusions- Intravenous Sodium Valproate (iVPA) seems to be safe and rapidly effective for intractable migraine attack. Randomized, double-blinded, controlled studies are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Efficacy
  • Migraine headache
  • Safety
  • Sodium valproate
  • Triptans


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