Migraine sufferers may get relief from local anaesthetic

There is no known cure for migraines and treatments don't relieve symptoms for all patients

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Local anaesthetic could help sufferers of migraines, for which there is no known cure, a study suggests.

A range of treatments that ease symptoms are offered to patients, but these standard and aggressive treatments do not work for all.

A study examined the effectiveness of whether an infusion of lidocaine, a local anaesthetic, could help to “break the cycle” of pain among patients admitted to hospital.

The treatment has been used for some patients but the evidence is limited, they said.

The team, led by academics from the University of Philadelphia, examined data on 609 patients who received it alongside other migraine treatments.

Those taking part were asked to rate their pain before their hospital admission and as they left, on a scale of none to 10.

When they were admitted the average pain score was seven.

But after the lidocaine infusion, along with the other treatments, patients reported that their pain rating was, on average, just one.

They were followed up one to two months after they were discharged and reported an average pain score of 5.5.

They also reported that they were experiencing fewer “headache days” – down from 27 days a month at the start of the study to 23 days at follow-up.

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The authors called for a larger study to confirm the findings and assess how beneficial lidocaine infusions could be for people with chronic migraines who have not responded to other treatments.

“Lidocaine infusions may be associated with short-term and medium-term pain relief in refractory chronic migraine,” they wrote in the journal Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.

“This study provides a rational basis for performing a randomised controlled trial to evaluate lidocaine infusions as an effective treatment for refractory chronic migraine.”

Updated: May 23, 2022, 10:47 PM