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August 26, 1950


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

From the Headache Clinic, George Washington University Hospital, Washington, D. C.

JAMA. 1950;143(17):1462-1464. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910520004003

It is most commonly stated, and as recently as 1948,1 that no instance of ergotism has occurred in persons receiving ergotamine tartrate for migraine. That patients with migraine are usually resistant to deleterious effects of ergot is certainly substantiated by numerous instances of patients' taking large doses without harm. Von Storch2 reports a patient taking ergotamine tartrate (gynergen®) once a week for five years, Moench3 refers to 2 patients taking 0.25 mg. of ergotamine tartrate daily for four and seven years, and we4 have knowledge of a patient taking 0.75 mg. (1.5 cc. in divided doses) daily for eight years with a two year symptom-free interval.

Disquieting reports,5 however, are heard, particularly of late, of the toxicity of ergot in the treatment of periodic headache. The failure to establish the diagnosis prior to therapy in the first two reports,5a, b a point repeatedly emphasized