There was at time when medication for migraine headaches consisted of an aspirin or a strong narcotic drug, which may or may not have worked and sometimes migraine headaches were dismissed as common tension headaches or nerves.
With advances in medical science and research into the causes and imbalances that may be present during a migraine episode the patient who requires medication for migraine headaches has many more options. Of course, there are over the counter medication for migraine headaches that can work if taken soon enough. A mixture of one example is Excedrin for Migraines, which is effective on some migraine headaches.
One of the historical problems with medication for migraine headaches was their ability to be effective was limited by the fact that when the migraine headache begins it often produces a sympathetic response in the stomach which causes the digestive process to slow.
This decreases the effectiveness of medication that are taken orally since the medication just sits in the stomach. The nausea that is often experienced with a migraine headache also complicated taking medication orally since it is difficult to swallow or retain medicine when nauseous.
A chronic migraine headache is generally very painful and can cause lost work time and missed school as well as social obligations. A migraine headache episode can last from several hours to several days and most migraine sufferers find their function impaired or they are unable to function during their episodes.
There are three common approaches to medications for migraine headaches.
Preventative migraine headache medications
Palliative migraine medications
Interruptive migraine headache medications
It used to be that once a migraine headache began there were not many options as far as effective medication for migraine headaches went. However now there are medications that are intended to interrupt the headache not just fix the pain but to solve the issue. These medications are usually nasal sprays or injections.
Preventative medication for migraine headaches are used only in cases where migraine episodes are very frequent, at least one episode a week. These are overall not drugs developed originally for migraine headaches but repurposed and can be effective if the physician deems it necessary.
Palliative medication for migraine headaches are for use when the migraine cannot be interrupted and is full blown. These might include anti-nausea medications and pain medications that work strictly upon migraine headaches. A last ditch recourse might be a narcotic but since migraine episodes are recurrent with many people, narcotics have limited usefulness.
Medications called Triptans are often used for migraine headaches. They help stop the pain and can interrupt the migraine headache though they are ineffective on anything but headaches.
Beta Blockers or Calcium channel blockers such as Propranolol and Verapamil are high blood pressure medications but are also sometimes used as preventative migraine headache medications. Diphenhydramine and Cyproheptadine are antihistamines that may be used to prevent migraine headaches in some persons. Antidepressants such as Amytriptiline and Nortriptyline have had some success as well.
Because these drugs are used in ways not intended originally, it is important that they be used only under a physician’s direction. There are a growing group of medications either repurposed to treat migraines or developed specifically as medication for migraine headaches. There are choices in treatments as well as preventions for migraine headaches and control is better today than ever before.
Categories: Migraine Medication Tags: aspirin, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, effective medication, episode, headache medications, headaches, migraine episode, Migraine Headache, migraine headaches, migraine medications, migraine sufferers, pain, Propranolol, tension headaches, Triptans, Verapamil, work