What are the treatments for hemicrania continua?

Steven A. Meyers, MD
Diagnostic Radiology

The most effective treatment for most patients is indomethacin, a medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's). Ibuprofen and naproxen are also members of this class. Indomethacin is usually extremely effective at preventing the pain of hemicrania continua but must be taken daily. Like all NSAID's, indomethacin can cause stomach upset and not all patients can take indomethacin or tolerate it for long periods. Other NSAID's can sometimes be effective and better tolerated. Some patients may respond to the medications used to prevent typical migraine.


Indomethacin, a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID), usually provides rapid relief from the symptoms of hemicrania continua. Other NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, celecoxib, and naproxen, can provide some relief from the symptoms. Amitriptyline and other tricyclic antidepressants are effective in some patients.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Continue Learning about Headache

Throbbing Headache? Try These Headache Remedies
Throbbing Headache? Try These Headache Remedies
When your head is pounding, do you head straight for the medicine cabinet? Before you pop any pills, try these natural headache remedies to prevent or...
Read More
What are non-drug treatments for headaches?
Dr. Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAcDr. Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAc
Sichuan lovage, or ligusticum, has for centuries, been a traditional Chinese remedy for agonizing mi...
More Answers
8 Surprising Migraine Triggers
8 Surprising Migraine Triggers8 Surprising Migraine Triggers8 Surprising Migraine Triggers8 Surprising Migraine Triggers
See if you recognize any of these unusual triggers.
Start Slideshow
Are Migraines Hereditary?
Are Migraines Hereditary?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.