If you often suffer migraine pain, rest assured there is a range of treatments intended for use in relieving migraines. There are two main types of migraine treatment: pain-relieving and preventive.
Pain-relieving medications should be taken when migraine pain is taking hold; they are intended to stop symptoms of migraine attacks. Preventive medications, meanwhile, are meant to be taken regularly - often even daily - to make attacks less severe or frequent.
You should be careful which medications you use. Your strategy should differ depending on factors including how disabling your current headaches are and your other medical conditions.
During a mild migraine attack, ibuprofen or aspirin could assist in relieving it, as might acetaminophen in certain people. If your migraine anguish is moderate, you might be able to ease it with Excedrin Migraine, which combines aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine.
However, resist taking any of these medications too often or for lengthy periods of time; otherwise, gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers and medication-overuse headaches could result.
These can be sourced in nasal spray, pill and injection form and can reduce migraine-associated pain through constricting blood vessels and blocking pain pathways in your brain. However, it is not recommended that you use triptans if you are at risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A single tablet of one triptan-based solution, Treximet, combines sumatriptan and naproxen sodium and has been demonstrated to relieve migraine systems more effectively than either sumatriptan or naproxen sodium by itself, the Mayo Clinic explains.
Each of these combines ergotamine and caffeine in one drug, such as Cafergot or Migergot. Though ergots trail triptans in effectiveness, they appear at their most effective in migraine sufferers whose pain remains for longer than 48 hours. For the best results, ergots should also be taken shortly after the onset of migraine symptoms.
Side effects that could arise from using ergots include worsened nausea and vomiting. Fewer side effects are associated with the ergot derivative known as dihydroergotamine, which is also more effective than ergotamine.
Opioid medications containing narcotics
These medications have sometimes been used as migraine medicine - particularly if the contained narcotics are codeine. However, due to the habit-forming nature of narcotics, they tend to only be used should a migraine sufferer not have the option of taking ergots or triptans and no other treatments be able to relieve the migraine symptoms.
If you suffer from at least four debilitating migraine attacks monthly, the attacks last over 12 hours and pain-relieving medications are not improving matters, you may benefit from shifting to preventive therapy. Nonetheless, you might not notice relieved symptoms for several weeks.
Cardiovascular drugs used to prevent migraines include the beta blockers propranolol, timolol and metoprolol tartrate. However, doctors may advise you against using these if you are aged over 60 or have particular heart or blood vessel conditions.
Even if you are not depressed, you might still be able to prevent migraines by using tricyclic antidepressants. This can be attributed to their ability to affect serotonin and other chemical levels in the brain.
The sole tricyclic antidepressant proven effective in preventing migraines is amitriptyline; however, other tricyclic antidepressants are occasionally used due to their possibly fewer side effects. Side effects that can result from using these medications include sleepiness, constipation, dry mouth and weight gain.
Research has hinted that another antidepressant - venlafaxine, which is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and otherwise called Effexor XR - might also help prevent migraines.
Migraines can apparently fall in frequency when particular anti-seizure drugs, like topiramate and valproate, are taken. Still, high doses of these drugs may lead to the emergence of particular side effects. Valproate sodium, for example, could cause tremor, nausea, dizziness, hair loss and weight gain. Women who are pregnant or may become so should avoid using valproate products.
Meanwhile, a migraine sufferer could struggle with their memory and concentration if they take topiramate, other side effects of which could include nausea, diarrhea, and weight loss.
Otherwise called onabotulinumtoxinA, Botox can evidently help adults stop chronic migraines. Treatment involves injecting onabotulinumtoxinA into forehead and neck muscles. Should a beneficial effect result, the treatment typically has to be repeated every 12 weeks.
You might be familiar with the cosmetic procedure of injecting Botox to relax facial muscles and so help smooth wrinkles. However, if you want Botox treatment for chronic migraine headaches, you should get it only from a doctor trained to give Botox shots for this purpose, advises WebMD.
A Botox migraine treatment can produce an allergic reaction, though this is thankfully rare. Signs of this reaction would be hives and shortness of breath.
Other pain-relieving remedies for migraines include anti-nausea medications and the glucocorticoids of dexamethasone and prednisone. These other remedies might be used in combination with other medicines - and we would urge you to seek professional advice on possible side effects.