Migraines are a type of headache that tend to cause more than just head pain. The symptoms include nausea and vision problems.
A migraine headache can last for a few hours a day to several hours. But a migraine attack that lasts for more than 72 hours is called status migrainosus. This may require hospital treatment to relieve the pain and treat dehydration from vomiting.
Since ancient times, headache has plagued people of all ranks all over the world. For instance, Napoleon's terrible tirades may have been driven by his unbearable headache pain. And still the pain goes on. Today, migraines and other types of headaches affect as many as four out of every five Americans.
A commonly used medicine for halting status migrainosus is dihydroergotamine (DHE-45, Migranal). This is a migraine treatment that dates back to the 1940s. The drug may be taken as a nasal spray or through an injection.
Another drug that can halt status migrainosus is sumatriptan. It is given as an injection, nasal spray, pill, or skin patch.
However, people with blood vessel disease should avoid these drugs.
If you have frequent migraines you may want to take medicines to prevent them. These may not completely prevent migraines. But they may reduce the number or severity of attacks that can turn into status migrainosus.