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.

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