A migraine is a condition where the person suffers from severe headaches along with a lot of other symptoms. Usually, migraine headaches are accompanied by nausea and photosensitivity. Some people have a sensitivity to sound.
What are some medications for migraines?
There are two kinds of medications for migraines. Acute medications are designed to control and provide relief from an existing migraine, while the other type is prescribed to prevent the onset of a migraine. Most people who are known to have frequent migraines are usually prescribed preventive medications by their doctors.
Acute migraine relief medications
There are a wide number of medications for migraines that are available. Some of the drugs used by migraine patients are painkillers and anti-nausea medicines.
Ergotamines are generally prescribed to patients suffering from severe migraines. These work by constricting the flow of blood in the head, thereby relieving the person of a headache. These are generally prescription drugs and are not to be abused, as it could lead to serious side effects.
These are known to cause serious issues in pregnant women and in people with heart problems. This group of medication has to be used with caution.
Triptans, also known as serotonin agonists, work by blocking the nerve transmitters which transmit pain in the body. The blood vessels are constricted and there is an increase in the serotonin levels. This is effective in relieving the person of a headache. Some of the known side effects of this class of drugs are nausea and dizziness.
Some people even reported feeling very drowsy after taking this drug. People who are currently on antidepressants need to mention it to their primary care provider as it can interfere with the triptans and can cause serious harm.
Painkillers are usually used to provide instant relief from a headache. The general class of painkillers may not be sufficient to help provide long-lasting relief from a migraine headache. However, there are some painkillers that are available in combination with caffeine.
These can help relieve migraine headaches. It is not recommended to use any class of painkillers for a long period of time, as it could lead to side effects such as kidney or stomach problems.
Anti-nausea drugs, as the name suggests, provide relief from the nausea symptoms of a migraine. These drugs are usually prescribed along with the other medications for migraines. They can also be combined with painkillers for instant relief. Drowsiness and confusion are some known side effects of this class of medication.
Preventive medications are normally prescribed to people who are known to face more than 3-4 incidents of migraines within a short span of time, say a month. These medications are to be used on a daily basis to prevent the migraines. If a potential trigger for the migraines could be found, the medications may be tailored to be consumed during or before a trigger.
In some women, menstruation may cause migraines, so these preventive medicines may be prescribed to be used only during the time of menstruation to prevent or reduce the severity of a migraine. Some of the commonly used preventive medications are beta blockers and calcium channel blockers.
Beta blockers can help prevent the onset of a migraine by reducing the stress on the blood vessels. They reduce the brain cell activity, especially the cells involved in migraines. They also constrict the arteries and are normally prescribed to lower the blood pressure in case of high blood pressure.
Beta blockers may cause serious harm to people suffering from asthma. Some people have reported insomnia in addition to nausea and dizziness when they use beta blockers.
Anticonvulsant drugs are generally prescribed to prevent convulsions. They are also known to help prevent a migraine. They work on the nerves and reduce the nervous activity significantly, thereby preventing a migraine. Diarrhea and sleeplessness are some known side effects of this class of drugs.
Calcium channel blockers
Calcium channel blockers work by blocking the dopamine receptors, thereby reducing or preventing a headache. These are also prescribed to lower or regulate the blood pressure levels. Calcium channel blockers ensure that there is no abnormal constriction and dilation of the nerves.
As a side effect of using calcium channel blockers for regulating migraines, a person might get a low blood pressure.
It may be surprising to note that antidepressants may be prescribed for controlling or managing migraines. Antidepressants normally aim to increase serotonin secretion, which, in turn, can reduce inflammation.
This can also be helpful in preventing migraines. Serotonin is also known to constrict blood vessels, which can further help alleviate migraines. One of the common side effects of prescribing antidepressants for this condition is weight gain.
In some cases, NSAIDs may also be prescribed to help prevent migraines. They work by inhibiting the production of a specific chemical. These should not be used in the long term; they are designed to provide short-term relief.