Migraine Headache Medications

Written by AnaLise on July 8, 2008 – 8:09 am -

If you suffer from migraine headaches, you know how intense and debilitating they can be.  You have probably spent some time lying in a dark, quiet room with an icepack on your head or neck, trying to wait it out.  Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn’t.  Stress reduction and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization (picture yourself in a place that you enjoy and that is relaxing to you) or try to clear your mind and think of “no pain.”

If you have just started having migraines, you will probably be advised to use aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease the pain.  In addition, it is important and quite helpful to identify your migraine triggers, for instance, if you have a glass of wine, some chocolate or some nuts and get a migraine headache within a few minutes or hours, eliminating these things from your diet will quite possibly eliminate the headaches. 

Often, however, migraine medication is needed in addition to or in place of these ideas.  During the past decade, there have been many improvements in existing migraine medications and there have been new medications developed.  In addition, new uses for medications designed for other health issues have been discovered.

For instance, beta blockers (for high blood pressure) and tricyclics (for depression) have proven effective against migraines.  Beta blockers open the blood vessels and can have a relaxing effect on the nerve cells that cause migraines.  Anti-depressants also relieve pain and can be used even if you do not suffer from depression.

Most medications taken for migraines should be taken as soon as you feel the migraine symptoms coming on.  It is recommended that you don’t take any more medication any more often than prescribed by your doctor.  If you still continue to get frequent migraines, your doctor will likely prescribe medication that prevents migraines for you to take regularly to reduce the frequency and intensity of your migraines.  These medications do not cure migraines  the condition sometimes subsides as you get older, especially after age 45.

For more information about migraines and their medication and treatment check the National Migraine Association at www.migraine.org.

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