MEDICATION

A migraine is a throbbing headache that researchers believe involves a neurological disorder of the brain’s nerve pathways and chemicals. Migraines are often incapacitating and recurring. Migraine attacks can last hours or days at a time and often result in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hypersensitivity, and pain on one side of the head.

Throughout history, physicians have prescribed a number of treatments for migraine symptoms. Two such treatments are abortive and preventative medications. Migraine medications either work to stop symptoms or prevent them from occurring.

Why Start With Migraine Medication?

People who experience migraine attacks typically have them for life. Migraine sufferers need to discover the treatment that works best for them to prevent or control migraine symptoms for the long term. Over-the counter migraine medications allow people with migraines to treat themselves without needing prescriptions or doctor’s visits.

Start with medication before moving onto other migraine solutions. Diagnosed and undiagnosed migraine patients use OTC medications every day to effectively treat and prevent attacks. With the right medicine, you won’t have to waste time or money trying other forms of treatment.

There are plenty of drugs marketed specifically to stop migraines – many with histories of success for thousands of people. Finding the right combination of drugs may take some trial and error, but it can be worth the effort if it means avoiding other types of treatments. A doctor can help you discover the ideal medication for your specific migraine headaches.

Abortive Drugs for Migraines

Medications to stop headaches, or abortive medications, work in several different ways within the brain. They relieve inflammation, block the release of neurotransmitters, and stop pain signals from going to the brain. These drugs can provide fast relief for symptoms that would otherwise become disabling. Common abortive migraine drugs include:

  • Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • Dihydroergotamine mesylate (Migranal Nasal)
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Hydrocodone and ibuprofen (Vicoprofen)

Pills aren’t the only form of migraine symptom relief medication. Some of the above-mentioned drugs are nasal sprays and suppositories. Indomethacin, for example, is a commonly prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug for treating migraine-related nausea. Doctors often administer this drug as a suppository, or a drug for insertion into the body (usually through the rectum or vagina). Talk to your doctor about the right type of abortive medication for your specific migraine symptoms.

Preventative Drugs

Preventative medications, or prophylactics, aim to prevent migraines from occurring in the first place. They commonly work as beta-blockers, reducing the activities of brain cells that cause migraines. Other preventative migraine medications include anti-serotonergic, antidepressant, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, calcium channel blocker, and angiotensin II blocker drugs.

Preventative medicines may take months to work, but then the individual will no longer experience migraine attacks. You may need to try several different medications before finding one or more that work for you. Popular preventative migraine medications on the market include:

  • Propranol (Inderal LA)
  • Divalproex Sodium (Depakote)
  • Lisinopril
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)

Experiment with several over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed medications before moving on to other forms of migraine treatments. Medications are highly effective for thousands of migraine patients around the world, and they may be the answer to your disabling attacks. Always follow your doctor’s orders and the instructions on the packaging when trying different abortive and preventative migraine drugs.

Possible Cons of Migraine Medications

Migraine Relief Center often helps patients who did not find relief from over-the-counter or prescription medications. We work closely with patients to find alternative treatments, medications, or combinations of both that deliver real, long-lasting results. We recognize the potential cons of preventative and abortive medications, such as:

  • Disabling attacks despite taking medications
  • Insufficient response to acute drug treatments
  • Propensity for pain killer dependency or addiction
  • Medications that make migraines worse
  • Patient prefers not to take drugs
  • Dosage frequency
  • Long waiting period for drugs to take effect
  • Undesirable side effects or health risks

Although many patients find success with abortive and preventative medications, others prefer or require alternative treatment methods. If medication doesn’t work for you, consider your alternatives.

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