To determine if droperidol i.v. is as effective as prochlorperazine i.v. in the emergency department (ED) treatment of uncomplicated headache, a randomized, controlled, blinded study was conducted in the Emergency Departments of two urban teaching hospitals. Patients >or= 18 years old with crescendo-onset headache were eligible for inclusion. Ninety-six patients (48 in each group) were randomized to receive droperidol 2.5 mg i.v. or prochlorperazine 10 mg i.v. Baseline characteristics were similar between the two study groups. For the main study outcome, 83.3% in the droperidol group and 72.3% in the prochlorperazine group reported 50% pain reduction at 30 min (p <.01; one-sided test of equivalence). The mean decrease in headache intensity was 79.1% (SD 28.5%) in the droperidol group and 72.1% (SD 28.0%) in the prochlorperazine group (p =.23). It is concluded that droperidol i.v. provided a similar reduction of headache as achieved with prochlorperazine i.v. with a similar incidence of akathisia.