Migraine headaches are a common and functionally debilitating disorder affecting approximately 17% of women and 5.6% of men. Compared to episodic migraine patients, chronic migraineurs are more likely to be occupationally disabled, miss family activities, have comorbid anxiety and/or chronic pain disorders, and utilize significantly more health care dollars. Ziconotide is a calcium channel blocker used for the treatment of chronic severe pain without issues of tolerance or dependency found with opioid therapy.
A 59-year-old female had an intrathecal baclofen pump placed for spasticity secondary to multiple sclerosis. Her symptoms also included lower extremity neuropathic pain and severe migraine headaches with 22 migraine headache days per month. Prior treatments included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, triptans, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, and Botox injections which reduced her symptoms to four migraine days per month at best. While her spasticity had markedly improved with intrathecal baclofen, ziconotide was added to help her neuropathic pain complaints. Following initiation of low-dose ziconotide (1 µg/day), the patient noted both lower extremity pain improvement and complete resolution of migraine headaches resulting in zero migraine days per month. She has now been migraine free for 8 months.