Current Approach to Undifferentiated Headache Management in the Emergency Department

  • Amir Rashed
  • Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi
  • Ali PourmandEmail author
Other Pain (A. Kaye and N. Vadivelu, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Other Pain


Purpose of Review

To discuss pharmacological interventions in the emergency department (ED) setting for the management of acute primary headache.

Recent Findings

Acute headache treatment in the ED has seen an expansion in terms of possible pharmacological interventions in recent years. After a thorough evaluation ruling out dangerous causes of headache, providers should take the patient’s history, comorbidities, and prior therapy into consideration.


Antidopaminergics have an established role in the management of acute, severe, headache with manageable side-effect profiles. However, recent studies suggest anesthetic and anti-epileptic drugs may play roles in headache treatment in the ED. Current literature also suggest steroids as a promising tool for emergency department clinicians combating the readmission of patients with recurrent headaches. Emergency medicine providers must be cognizant of these traditional and emerging therapies in order to optimize the care of headache patients.


Headache Primary Acute Treatment Emergency department 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Ali Pourmand declares no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amir Rashed
    • 1
  • Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ali Pourmand
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineGeorge Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineMedStar Washington Hospital CenterWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of MedicineGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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