Review of Lidocaine Infusions for Pain Relief from Chronic Migraine

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Eric C. Schwenk MD
Anesthesiology
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Schwent

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Patients with refractory chronic migraine (rCM) have typically failed all available medications and many times have nearly constant headache pain and in many cases disability. Aggressive treatment is indicated to provide relief and help break the cycle of pain.

Lidocaine infusions have been used for decades in various acute and chronic pain conditions, including complex regional pain syndrome and pain after surgery. At the Jefferson Headache Center lidocaine has been a mainstay of treatment for such patients for several decades but evidence supporting its benefits is scarce.

The main findings were that patients with rCM experienced acute relief at the end of the infusion and that some relief was sustained at 1 month, although the degree of pain relief faded over time. It was also well tolerated with nausea and vomiting occurring in 16.6% of patients and other side effects occurring less frequently.