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National Saline Shortage May Affect Migraine Patients

Migraine patients too often end up in the emergency department, desperate with Migraine pain and needing Migraine medications and rehydration. If you end up in the ER in the near future, it’s possible that you may have trouble with certain treatments due to a shortage of bagged IV saline solution.

The shortage is thought to be the result of the increased number of flu cases across most states, coupled with manufacturing problems. MedPage Today states:

“…the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists called it a “critical shortage” in its notice to healthcare providers, urging doctors to follow conservation strategies.”

Many hospitals are canceling elective surgeries in their attempt to save their dwindling supplies for more emergent needs.

Migraine patients are known to become extremely dehydrated if nausea and vomiting are prolonged. Additionally, many patients using emergency departments are used to receiving their medications along with a saline IV.

It’s unclear if this shortage will affect many Migraine patients. Due to the stigma often associated with Migraine in the emergency department, I’m afraid there may be some patients who could be affected. When Migraine is not seen as the potentially emergent problem it can be, patients are often neglected and mistreated, even under the best of circumstances.

What can you do?

Stay hydrated. Concentrate on taking small sips of water, even when you feel terrible. IV fluids are never the best line of defense for a Migraine, and you do have some control over drinking water.

If you need to visit the emergency department for Migraine treatment or think you may be suffering from dehydration due to your Migraines, please consider taking a couple of precautionary thoughts with you:

  • Calling the ER before you leave home to ask if there is a ration there might be helpful in deciding which facility might be your best choice.
  • Realize that there may more deadly/emergent cases ahead of you, and there could be increased wait times.
  • Take your emergency prescription from the plan you have already created with your doctor to shorten treatment time and maximize effectiveness.
  • Realize that, depending upon your usual ER treatment, it may be changed in part due to rationing.
  • ER’s are like petri dishes at this time of the year, so think about taking precautions so your Migraine visit doesn’t turn into another visit for the flu or other infectious disease.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Fiore, Kristina. “IV Saline in Short Supply”.MedPage Today. January 24, 2014. Available at:


  • arden
    5 years ago

    This is slightly off topic, but salt related: I was doing such a good job of hydrating myself that I was depleting my own sodium levels with so much water and was told by my gp to up my salt intake. So make sure your sodium level is normal before you even run into a possible emergency scarcity of IV saline at the hospital.

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