Patients who visit urgent care centers for acute migraine often do not receive the emergency treatment as recommended according to guidelines from the American Headache Society (AHS), according to study results published in Headache.

Urgent care centers are emerging as a preferred treatment location for patients with migraine, given the long wait times, bright lights, loud noises, and stress over cost of treatment associated with emergency departments (EDs), which can exacerbate migraine symptoms. Despite the growing popularity, there is limited evidence on how migraine is managed and treated in urgent care settings. The objective of this study was to examine trends in the management and treatment of migraine at urgent care centers and to determine whether medications administered on-site and prescribed on discharge were consistent with treatment guidelines from the AHS.

In this study, researchers performed a retrospective chart review of patients diagnosed with migraine at 2 urgent care locations within the New York University Langone Health System between 2015 and 2018. They collected data, including baseline patient demographics, prior history of headache and migraine, reasons patients chose to visit an urgent care center, medications used at the center and prescribed on discharge, and characteristics of patient outcomes after discharge.

Researchers revealed that 78 patients were diagnosed with migraine at the urgent care centers during the study period. Of these patients, 78.2% (n=61) had a self-reported or documented history of headache or migraine and 67.9% (n=53) had a specific documented history of migraine. Of the patients with a documented history of prior headache (n=34), 79.4% experienced ?2 headache days per month, and 94.1% had episodic migraine. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs and triptans were the most widely used abortive medications (39.3% and 37.7%, respectively) among patients with a history of headache or migraine, with 19.7% of those patients having indicated prior use of preventive migraine medications.


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