Migraines are a pain. We hate them. We try by any means possible to combat them. Many of us use natural remedies to ward them off, and to fight them. However, they sometimes are not enough and we have to resort to medications.
Check out this quick breakdown of medications for migraines to find out what might fit you.
Pain, no pain? Easy choice. Take the pain killers at the beginning of a migraine, preferably before symptoms show the slightest signs of emerging. Even though it is a pain-killer it could be a game-changer for your health. Aspirin, Advil, Motrin IB may help relieve mild migraines.
Tylenol has also been proven to relive migraines, although some argue that it is not as effective.
There are also many drugs that are specifically tailored for migraines by combining acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine (such as Excedrin Migraine). These are obviously not entirely effective by themselves. The only problem is that if these medications are taken too often, they could have other side effects if used consistently. There is another prescription pain reliever on the market though called indomethacin.
Another class of medications called triptans are used for migraine attacks. Triptans are interesting in the fact that they work by constricting of blood vessels and nullifying pain pathways to the brain. These have been proven to be much more effective than regular pain killers. Some medications include Imitrex, Maxalt, Naramig, Zolmig, Axert, Relpax and Frovamig, Actually, triptans are available in multiple methods such as nasal sprays, tablets and injections. However, side effects of triptans may include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and muscle weakness. So take them with anti-nausea medications if you experience problems. An extra note: people have claimed that a combination of sumatriptan and Treximet has proven to be effective in relieving migraine symptoms.
Migergot, Cafergot (mixtures of ergotamine and caffeine) are less effective than triptans. This class of medications seems to be most effective in those with long-lasting migraines. The problem: these meds may actually incite worsened nausea and it can lead to medication-overuse headaches. An alternative has been found by the migraine community though: Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal) is a derivative of ergotamine; more effective and has fewer side effects than ergotamine. The bonus is that it can be used as a nasal spray or an injection.
It is a widely-known fact that migraines are often accompanied by nausea. However, as mentioned before, pain is involved with migraines. So if you take pain medications, you are actually, in many cases, stimulating more nausea. To combat that, many people use anti-nausea medications such as chlorpromazine, Reglan or Compro.
Yes, the word opioid has many bad connotations, however, it is also a source of relief for many migraineurs. The use of semi-narcotics, in particular codeine, are occasionally used as alternatives to triptans or ergot. A word of caution though: narcotics can be addictive, so use with hesitation and only as a last resort.
Glucocorticoids may be used along with other medications to alleviate pain. However, because of the risk of steroid toxicity, glucocorticoids should not be used frequently. Medications such as Dexpak, Aristocort and Aristopan are all over-the-counter forms of glucocorticoids.