What Are the Medications for Migraine Headaches?

Q:
What are the medications for migraine headaches?

A:
Two kinds of medicines can be used for the treatment of migraines:
Medicines to stop a migraine. These are sometimes called abortive medicines.
Medicines to prevent migraines. These drugs are often called preventive medicines.

In most cases, your doctor will first prescribe a drug that causes the fewest side effects. Drugs may be prescribed based on your type of migraine.

Drugs used to stop a migraine include:

  • Ergotamine derivatives, such as Cafergot.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example).
  • Some over-the-counter medicines (for example, Excedrin) combine acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.
  • Triptans (serotonin receptor agonists), such as sumatriptan (Imitrex) and zolmitriptan (Zomig).

Drugs used to prevent migraines include:

  • Anticonvulsants, such as topiramate.
  • AntidepressantsAntidepressants, such as amitriptyline.
  • Antihistamine , such as cyproheptadine.
  • Beta-blockers, such as propranolol.
  • Botulinum toxinBotulinum toxin, such as Botox.
  • Calcium channel blockers, such as verapamil.
  • Histamine.

Finding the right mix of medicines for you may take some time. So work closely with your doctor to try different medicines and doses.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.