Migraine and Headache Treatment with IV Nutrients

Migraine and Headache Treatment with IV Nutrients

IV nutrients can be a fast way to relieve a migraine headache in progress, and also a good option for some migraine headache patients for regular monthly use. Many people do not adequately obtain nutrients through their diet either because they are not absorbing what they are consuming, or they are not consuming the proper nutrients in the first place. IV magnesium is the most well studied, and recommended nutrient treatment for migraine headaches. It often works so well that it is even used in the emergency room to help people get relief from their in progress migraine headache.

What does the research say?


The most studied, and probably the most important nutrient for migraine headaches is magnesium. A Google search will produce many positive studies on IV magnesium for stopping a migraine headache in its tracks. This treatment is even used in the emergency department. Getting a nutrient IV at a clinic has the advantage of less wait time and a lower cost than the emergency department.

In a 2001 study published in the journal Headache researchers gave acute migraine sufferers 15 patients 1gram of intravenous magnesium sulfate. During the study all patients who received magnesium sulfate IV had either a complete or significant reduction in their migraine. The researchers concluded “1 g intravenous magnesium sulfate is an efficient, safe, and well-tolerated drug in the treatment of migraine attacks.” (1)

In a 2016 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in Pain Physician, researchers concluded that “Intravenous magnesium reduces acute migraine attacks within 15 – 45 minutes, 120 minutes, and 24 hours after the initial infusion and oral magnesium alleviates the frequency and intensity of migraine. Intravenous and oral magnesium should be adapted as parts of multimodal approach to reduce migraine.” This represents a very high level of evidence. (2)

Are IV nutrients safe?

IV nutrients are very safe when the health care provider given them to you has done a proper workup of your health, and has been properly trained in the IV delivery of nutrients. Dr. Smitherman has trained extensively in this area of medicine. Dr. Smitherman has a masters degree in nutrition in addition to his doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Smitherman has also done additional training with the International IV Nutritional Therapy training program.

Why would IV nutrients be preferred over taking supplements?

Oral supplementation can be very effective (refer to Dr. Smitherman’s article on supplementation for migraine headaches), but oftentimes people will have difficulty absorbing enough of the nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract, and/or have difficulty reaching a therapeutic level of the nutrients in their body though the oral route. When you perform a nutrient IV you can be assured that 100% of the nutrients are entering the bloodstream, and that the fast increase in levels will drive the nutrients into your cells. Many nutrients cannot reach a proper therapeutic dose with other routes of administration.

Can I get a nutrient IV with my other treatments?

IV nutrients are considered very safe with other treatments. Dr. Smitherman may add other nutrients, Ondansetron (Zofran), and Ketorolac (Toradol) to your IV to further assist with nausea, and pain. Dr. Smitherman assesses each person’s case for safety, and to determine the best treatments for them.

Does Insurance cover IV treatments for migraine headaches?

Insurance plans to not cover nutrient IVs for migraine headaches. The cost of an IV depends on what nutrients are needed for the person and can range between $79 and $250.

If you are interested in working with Dr. Smitherman you can book a consultation or appointment online.


  1. Demirkaya, S., Vural, O., Dora, B., Topcuoglu, MA. Efficacy of intravenous magnesium sulfate in the treatment of acute migraine attacks. Headache 2001 Feb;41(2):171-7.
  2. Chiu, H.Y., Yeh, T.H., Huang, Y.C., Chen, P.Y. Effects of intravenous and oral magnesium on reducing migraine: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pain Physician. 2016’ 19:E97-E112. ISSN 2150-1149