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Treatments for Migraine

Treatments for Migraine:

The most effective treatment plan for migraine uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific triggers and severity of the migraine, the patient's age, medical history, and other factors.

Treatment of migraine begins with prevention. This includes diagnosing and avoiding the underlying triggers of a migraine, such as eating aged cheese or drinking red wine. This involves keeping a migraine log or diary to record the timing, symptoms, and the types of situations that occurred or substances that were ingested before the migraine occurred.

A migraine log also records any auras that occur just before a migraine. This helps a person to recognize an oncoming migraine and begin early treatment. The type of treatment and its results are also recorded to help pinpoint the most effective treatment for an individual.

Medications commonly used to treat migraine include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen, and aspirin. All of these drugs can cause serious side effects in some people and should be taken only as directed.

Many people with migraines report a sudden overwhelming fatigue and need to lie down in a dark, quiet room to sleep. A nap combined with taking some form of over-the-counter medication might be all it takes to minimize or even eliminate a migraine completely for some people.

If this treatment is not effective, medications that may be prescribed include vasoconstrictors, which constrict dilated blood vessels in the brain. These include ergot alkaloids and sumatriptan (Imitrex), and serotonin receptor agonists. Drugs may also be prescribed to control nausea and vomiting.

Narcotics, such as morphine or Dilaudid, are generally not recommended for long-term treatment of migraines because of the potential for dependence.

Treatment List for Migraine

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Migraine includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Supportive treatments
  • Medications
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Trigger avoidance
  • Analgesics
  • Anti-emetics
  • Simple analgesics
  • An effective treatment is intravenous dihydroergotamine (DHE) with an antiemetic. Intravenous valproic acid (VPA) is also often effective
  • Prophylactic attacks to prevent migraine attacks
  • Headache diary
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Small doses of ergotamine drugs
  • Beta-blocker drugs such as propranolol
  • Anticonvulsants such as valproate
  • Calcium channel blockers such as verapamil
  • These drugs should also be started two to three days pre-menses, and continued throughout the menstrual flow
  • Rest in a darkened, quiet room
  • Minimise auditory and visual stimulation
  • Analgesics
  • Acetaminophen with codeine
  • Tynelol
  • Acetaminophen
  • Panadol
  • Aspirin
  • Aspirin free anacin
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Naproxen
  • Anaprox
  • Ketoprofen
  • Oruvail
  • Actron
  • Sumatriptan
  • Frovatriptan
  • Eletriptan
  • Relpax
  • Ergotamine
  • Amlotriptan
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Promethazine
  • Phenargan
  • Treatment of migraine needs to be individualised, and depends upon the type, frequency and severity of attacks, the age of the patient and other coexisting health problems. Treatments include:
    • Patient education regarding prevention and management of attacks
    • Avoid trigger factors - dietary factors, bright lights, lack of sleep
    • Dietary management - chocolate, cheese, red wine, walnuts, tuna, spinach and liver, have all been implicated in triggering migraines
    • Avoidance of oral contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy which may trigger migraine in some patients
    • Healthy lifestyle
    • Treatment of acute attacks
      • Recognise early signs of migraine and institute treatment early
      • Rest in a cool, dark room
      • Cold packs may help
      • Some patients may be able to 'sleep off' attacks, and temazepam or diazepam taken on an as need basis may help
    • Medications
      • Aspirin (soluble)
      • NSAID's - ibuprofen, naproxen
      • Paracteamol
      • Opioids - should be actively avoided as problems can easily develop with dependence and abuse
      • Metoclopramide - for nausea and vomiting
      • Domperidone - for nausea and vomiting
      • Prochlorperazine - for nausea and vomiting
      • Ergotamine, dihydroergotamine
      • Triptan agents - sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan
      • Chlorpromazine - used IV in severe migraine
    • Prevention of attacks
      • Avoidance of trigger factors
    • Medications - indicated when a patient has 2 - 3 severe attacks each month which respond poorly to abortive treatment

Alternative Treatments for Migraine

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Migraine may include:

Migraine: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Migraine may include:

Hidden causes of Migraine may be incorrectly diagnosed:

  • Genetic causes - autosomal dominance
  • Secondary to brain dysfunction
  • Depolarization theory
  • Vascular theory
  • Family history of migraine headaches (70-80%)
  • Medications (ie, birth control pills, vasodilators)
  • more causes...»

Migraine: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Migraine:

Curable Types of Migraine

Possibly curable types of Migraine may include:

Migraine: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Drugs and Medications used to treat Migraine:

Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment or change in treatment plans.

Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Migraine include:

  • Excedrin
  • Excedrin Extra Strength Geltabs
  • Excedrin Migraine
  • Ergotamine
  • Bellamine
  • Bellaspas
  • Bellergal
  • Bellergal-S
  • Bellergal Spacetabs
  • Cafergot
  • Cafergot P-B
  • Cafetrate
  • Drummergal
  • Duragal-S
  • Ercaf
  • Ergobel
  • Ergocaf
  • Ergodryl
  • Ergomar
  • Ergostat
  • Genergen
  • Gravergol
  • Gynergen
  • Medihaler Ergotamine
  • Megral
  • Oxoid
  • Phenerbrel-S
  • Spastrin
  • Wigraine
  • Wigrettes
  • Methysergide
  • Sansert
  • Propionic Acid
  • Advil Migraine
  • Propranolol
  • Apo-Propranolol
  • Betachron
  • Detensol
  • Inderal
  • Inderal-LA
  • Inderide
  • Inderide LA
  • Ipran
  • Novo-Pranol
  • PMS Propranolol
  • Rizatriptan
  • Maxalt
  • Maxalt-MLT
  • Maxalt RPD
  • Sumatriptan
  • Imitrex
  • Imitrex Nasal Spray
  • Valproic Acid
  • Alti-Valproic
  • Apo-Divalproic
  • Apo-Valproic
  • Atemperator
  • Depa
  • Depakene
  • Depakote
  • Depakote ER
  • Deproic
  • Epival
  • Myproic
  • Novo-Divalproex
  • Novo-Valproic
  • Nu-Valproic
  • Rhoproic
  • Valproic
  • Acetaminophen, Aspirin and Caffeine
  • Excedrin Extra Strength
  • Fem-Prin
  • Genaced
  • Goody's Extra Strength Headache Powder
  • Goody's Extra Strength Pain Relief
  • Pain-Off
  • Vanquish Extra Strength Pain Reliever
  • Acetaminophen, Isometheptene and Dichloralphenazone
  • I.D.A
  • Midrin
  • Migrin-A
  • Almotriptan
  • Axert
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • D.H.E. 45
  • Migranal
  • Eletriptan
  • Relpax
  • Frovatriptan
  • Frova
  • Naratriptan
  • Amerge
  • Naramig
  • Sumatriptan Succinate
  • Imigran
  • Topiramate
  • Topamax

Unlabeled Drugs and Medications to treat Migraine:

Unlabelled alternative drug treatments for Migraine include:

Latest treatments for Migraine:

The following are some of the latest treatments for Migraine:

Hospital statistics for Migraine:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Migraine:

  • 0.72% (92,012) of hospital episodes were for Epilepsy, migraine and other episodic disorders in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 82% of hospital consultations for Epilepsy, migraine and other episodic disorders required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 53% of hospital episodes for Epilepsy, migraine and other episodic disorders were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 47% of hospital episodes for Epilepsy, migraine and other episodic disorders were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 73% of hospital admissions for Epilepsy, migraine and other episodic disorders required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Migraine

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Migraine:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Migraine, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Migraine:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Migraine:

Discussion of treatments for Migraine:

Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS (Excerpt)

Drug therapy, biofeedback training, stress reduction, and elimination of certain foods from the diet are the most common methods of preventing and controlling migraine and other vascular headaches. Joan, the migraine sufferer, was helped by treatment with a combination of an antimigraine drug and diet control.

Regular exercise, such as swimming or vigorous walking, can also reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Joan found that whirlpool and yoga baths helped her relax.

During a migraine headache, temporary relief can sometimes be obtained by applying cold packs to the head or by pressing on the bulging artery found in front of the ear on the painful side of the head.

Drug therapy. There are two ways to approach the treatment of migraine headache with drugs: prevent the attacks, or relieve symptoms after the headache occurs.

For infrequent migraine, drugs can be taken at the first sign of a headache in order to stop it or to at least ease the pain. People who get occasional mild migraine may benefit by taking aspirin or acetaminophen at the start of an attack. Aspirin raises a person's tolerance to pain and also discourages clumping of blood platelets. Small amounts of caffeine may be useful if taken in the early stages of migraine. But for most migraine sufferers who get moderate to severe headaches, and for all cluster headache patients (see section "Besides Migraine, What Are Other Types of Vascular Headaches?"), stronger drugs may be necessary to control the pain.

Several drugs for the prevention of migraine have been developed in recent years, including serotonin agonists which mimic the action of this key brain chemical. One of the most commonly used drugs for the relief of classic and common migraine symptoms is sumatriptan, which binds to serotonin receptors. For optimal benefit, the drug is taken during the early stages of an attack. If a migraine has been in progress for about an hour after the drug is taken, a repeat dose can be given.

Physicians caution that sumatriptan should not be taken by people who have angina pectoris, basilar migraine, severe hypertension, or vascular, or liver disease.

Another migraine drug is ergotamine tartrate, a vasoconstrictor which helps counteract the painful dilation stage of the headache. Other drugs that constrict dilated blood vessels or help reduce blood vessel inflammation also are available. (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS (Excerpt)

Biofeedback and relaxation training . Drug therapy for migraine is often combined with biofeedback and relaxation training. Biofeedback refers to a technique that can give people better control over such body function indicators as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, muscle tension, and brain waves. Thermal biofeedback allows a patient to consciously raise hand temperature. Some patients who are able to increase hand temperature can reduce the number and intensity of migraines. The mechanisms underlying these self-regulation treatments are being studied by research scientists.

"To succeed in biofeedback," says a headache specialist, "you must be able to concentrate and you must be motivated to get well."

A patient learning thermal biofeedback wears a device which transmits the temperature of an index finger or hand to a monitor. While the patient tries to warm his hands, the monitor provides feedback either on a gauge that shows the temperature reading or by emitting a sound or beep that increases in intensity as the temperature increases. The patient is not told how to raise hand temperature, but is given suggestions such as "Imagine your hands feel very warm and heavy."

"I have a good imagination," says one headache sufferer who traded in her medication for thermal biofeedback. The technique decreased the number and severity of headaches she experienced.

In another type of biofeedback called electromyographic or EMG training, the patient learns to control muscle tension in the face, neck, and shoulders.

Either kind of biofeedback may be combined with relaxation training, during which patients learn to relax the mind and body.

Biofeedback can be practiced at home with a portable monitor. But the ultimate goal of treatment is to wean the patient from the machine. The patient can then use biofeedback anywhere at the first sign of a headache. (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS (Excerpt)

The antimigraine diet . Scientists estimate that a small percentage of migraine sufferers will benefit from a treatment program focused solely on eliminating headache-provoking foods and beverages.

Other migraine patients may be helped by a diet to prevent low blood sugar. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can cause headache. This condition can occur after a period without food: overnight, for example, or when a meal is skipped. People who wake up in the morning with a headache may be reacting to the low blood sugar caused by the lack of food overnight.

Treatment for headaches caused by low blood sugar consists of scheduling smaller, more frequent meals for the patient. A special diet designed to stabilize the body's sugar-regulating system is sometimes recommended.

For the same reason, many specialists also recommend that migraine patients avoid oversleeping on weekends. Sleeping late can change the body's normal blood sugar level and lead to a headache. (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS (Excerpt)

Physicians have many drugs to treat migraine in children. Different classes that may be tried include analgesics, antiemetics, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers, and sedatives. A diet may also be prescribed to protect the child from foods that trigger headache. Sometimes psychological counseling or even psychiatric treatment for the child and the parents is recommended (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Migraine Update: NINDS (Excerpt)

Medications for migraine may be taken on a daily basis to prevent attacks. Some medications developed for epilepsy and depression may prove to be effective treatment options. Medicines can also be used to relieve pain and restore function during attacks. The most promising of these are drugs called triptans. For some women suffering from migraines, hormone therapy may help. Stress management strategies, such as exercise, relaxation, biofeedback and other therapies designed to help limit discomfort, may also have a place in the migraine treatment arsenal. (Source: excerpt from Migraine Update: NINDS)


At the onset of a migraine, lying down in a dark room with a cold compress can bring relief, along with over-the-counter drugs including acetaminophen or aspirin with caffeine. You may want to talk with your doctor about ways to prevent future migraines. (Source: excerpt from MIGRAINE HEADACHES: NWHIC)


Women with moderate migraines may need prescription drugs for relief. These could include agents that affect neurotransmitters (the chemicals that are the messengers in the brain) such as sumatriptin and various antidepressants. Other drugs might include agents that dilate blood vessels in the brain. In some cases, doctors prescribe painkillers.

Some drugs can be given intranasally, through a transdermal patch (on the skin), oxygen inhalation, and laser therapy to the maxillary nerve.

Because migraine is affected by hormonal fluctuation, estrogen use during the premenstrual period is sometimes helpful. However, ironically, estrogen may also trigger migraines. Women should discuss with their physicians use of estrogen such as oral contraceptives and hormonal therapy for migraines.

To help your doctor find the right treatment for you, keeping a "headache calendar" is important, documenting the time of day, point in your menstrual cycle, your location (at work, at home, at the park, etc.) and your activity when the migraine started. (Source: excerpt from MIGRAINE HEADACHES: NWHIC)

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