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What Does Migraine Medication Do

Acute Or Episodic Migraine

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The term episodic migraine refers to the condition of having 1 to 14 migraine headaches per month. Acute migraine is the general term used for migraines that arent diagnosed as chronic.

A chronic migraine condition is when the sufferer has 15 or more headache days per month, with at least 8 of those days meeting criteria for migraine.

How Do You Use Anti

That depends on what type of CGRP antagonist youâre using. Many of the treatments that are mainly used for migraine prevention are taken by injection, usually once or twice a month. These treatments include:

  • Erenumab
  • Galcanezumab
  • Eptinezumab

The one treatment thatâs a little bit different in how itâs taken is Vyepti®. Itâs administered via a 30-minute IV infusion. Migraine expert and Cove Medical Director Dr. Sara Crystal notes that patients in studies have shown improvement as soon as the day after the infusion.

What Are Some Risks With Otc Migraine Medications And Who Should Avoid Them

With all OTC migraine medications, theres a risk of developing whats called a medication overuse headache . MOH is a headache that happens if you use OTC migraine medications for too long, or more than 10 to 14 days a month. If you find yourself needing migraine relief this often or more, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you might need a stronger prescription migraine treatment.

In addition to preventing MOH, youll want to take a few more precautions depending on the specific ingredient your OTC migraine treatment includes.

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Start With A Proper Diagnosis

Various headache typesmigraine with or without aura, chronic or episodic migrainehave different characteristics, which may mean a different treatment plan. The subtype matters, Lipton said, because the treatment needs to match the subtype of migraine. If your diagnosis is chronic migraine, OnabotulinumtoxinA is effective, but it is not approved for use if your diagnosis is episodic migraine. People can read about the characteristics of various headaches, he said, and then confirm that the diagnosis they were given corresponds to their experience.

Diagnosis And Patient Assessment

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Migraine has well-established diagnostic criteria4 . Good evidence supports the use of the POUND mnemonic for migraine diagnosis6 . Assessment aims to confirm diagnostic criteria, evaluate for alternative explanations, identify comorbidities that could complicate management ,8 and document the baseline pattern and severity of episodes. A variety of conditions can present as headache, most of which can be identified by the history and physical examination .6 The only indications for ancillary testing are to identify causes of secondary headaches or comorbid conditions.9,10 Table 4 lists red flag symptoms that indicate the need for neuroimaging and/or urgent referral.9,10

International Headache Society Diagnostic Criteria for Migraine Headache With and Without Aura

Migraine without aura

*Recurrent disorder manifesting in headaches with reversible focal neurologic symptoms that usually develop gradually over 5 to 20 minutes before onset of the headache and last for less than 60 minutes. Headache with the features of migraine without aura usually follows the aura symptoms. Less commonly, headache lacks migrainous features or is completely absent .

Adapted with permission from Gilmore B, Michael M. Treatment of acute migraine headache . Am Fam Physician. 2011 83:272.

International Headache Society Diagnostic Criteria for Migraine Headache With and Without Aura

Migraine without aura

POUND Mnemonic for Diagnosis of Migraine

Clinical features:

Clinical features:

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Cgrp: A New Era For Migraine Treatment

Update:In early 2019, the FDA approved three CGRP monoclonal antibody drugs for the treatment of migraines. The medications are known by the brand names Aimovig, Ajovy, and Emgality.

Migraine is a common medical condition, affecting as many as 37 million people in the US. It is considered a systemic illness, not just a headache. Recent research has demonstrated that changes may begin to occur in the brain as long as 24 hours before migraine symptoms begin. Many patients have a severe throbbing headache, often on only one side of the head. Some people are nauseated with vomiting. Many are light sensitive and sound sensitive , and these symptoms can persist after the pain goes away.

There are a variety of migraine subtypes with symptoms that include weakness, numbness, visual changes or loss, vertigo, and difficulty speaking . The disability resulting from this chronic condition is tremendous, causing missed days of work and loss of ability to join family activities.

Precautions Before Taking Rizatriptan

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, its important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before taking rizatriptan.

  • Do you have problems with your liver or kidneys?
  • Do you have problems with high blood pressure ?
  • Have you had a heart attack or do you get angina ?
  • Have you had a stroke or do you get transient ischemic attacks?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • Are you breastfeeding?
  • Are you taking medication for depression?

Sometimes a medicine isnt suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

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How Migraine Is Diagnosed

The diagnosis of migraine is done under the supervision of a specialist. The steps to be followed for diagnosis are:

  • Physical examination: It is usually done to examine sensations, reflexes, coordination, and vision.
  • Identifying the pattern of headaches whether it is recurring or not and also associated symptoms.
  • Patients are asked some common questions such as:
  • If the headache is unilateral or bilateral.
  • If the associated pain is pulsating or not.
  • If the headache is severe.
  • If the condition is aggravated by doing physical activities.
  • If the headache is associated with fever.
  • If the condition is linked with an increased noise as well as light sensitivity.

Can I Still Use My Cgrp Mab With The Covid

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This hasnt been a reported issue thus far. There is no current evidence for an interaction between the Covid-19 vaccine and CGRP mAbs, the same as any other vaccine. This has also been stated by the American Migraine Foundation. Patients receiving CGRP mAbs were not excluded from the Covid-19 vaccine trials. There is no evidence at this time that these treatments cannot be used along with receiving Covid-19 vaccination, nor do they need to be delayed or timed any differently in relation to receiving Covid-19 vaccination.

Most physicians feel that there should theoretically be no interaction or contraindication to receiving either of these treatments in relation to Covid-19 vaccination because they are entirely different proteins with different mechanisms of action. The Covid-19 vaccine stimulates the immune system to form antibodies against the virus, should you encounter it. The CGRP mAbs do not have any significant influence on the immune system .

Rarely, the immune system of some patients can form neutralizing antibodies against the CGRP mAbs, and this can weaken the effectiveness of these treatments in their ability to decrease migraine frequency and severity. However, this rarity really has nothing to do with the mechanism and how the Covid-19 vaccine works. So, it is not felt that the Covid-19 vaccine will lessen the effectiveness of these treatments, nor will these treatments lessen the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.


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What If A Treatment Doesnt Work

Treatment failure is often a product of miscommunication and misunderstanding, perhaps about a persons symptoms or about what someone actually needs to treat their specific type of migraine. In other words, it may not actually be a failure at all.

A key part of understanding treatment failure, said Lipton, is redefining success. A preventive treatment plan will inevitably lead to disappointment if the expectation is to never have another headache. Instead, Lipton said, a reasonable goal for treatment is to decrease a persons headache days by 50% or 75% or reducing the intensity of the headaches by 50%-75% and allowing acute medications to work faster and more effectively. This will minimize the time that headache is interfering with ability to function.

What Are The Pressure Points To Relieve Migraines

Pressure point LI-4, also called Hegu, is helpful in relieving migraines, it is located between the index finger and thumb. It can be done as follows:

  • Find the space between the thumb and index finger on the left using the thumb and index finger of the right hand.
  • Press the point for about 5 minutes and simultaneously move the thumb in an orbicular motion.
  • Repeat the same on the right hand.

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How Much Does Cgrp Cost

The cost for one kind of CGRP migraine treatment is about $6,900 per year or $575 per month. Other types may have slightly different costs. CGRP drugs are new and may cost more than other kinds of migraine treatment.

The American Migraine Foundation advises that some health insurance companies may pay for CGRP migraine treatment if other treatments have not worked for you.

Document your migraine treatment, and ask your doctor for a letter. They can also call your insurance provider.

How Are Headaches Treated

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There isnât a one-size-fits-all approach. Your doctor will likely suggest one or more of the following:

Immediate treatment: Some drugs can put a quick end to a headache or migraine. Your doctor might have you inhale oxygen through a mask to relieve cluster headaches. Doctors might refer to this type of treatment as abortive therapy. Ibuprofen or naproxen may relieve migraines or tension headaches. But, for more severe migraines, prescription triptans are often recommended.

Preventive treatment: Prescription drugs can stop pain before it starts. It can make what you do feel less severe.

Nondrug treatments: Many natural therapies can be useful, too. Your headache specialist may suggest:

  • Limit alcohol.
  • Manage other health problems. Conditions like anxiety or high blood pressure can trigger headaches if you donât keep them under control.
  • Watch your use of medicines. Taking OTC pain relievers too often, or at a higher dose than advised, could cause more problems. Once the drug wears off, withdrawal symptoms start. This leads to more head pain and the need for more medicine. Doctors call this a rebound headache.
  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Too little or too much rest can trigger headaches.
  • Get to a healthy weight. A high body mass index can lead to more migraines.
  • Track your headaches. Write down when you get one and what you were doing right before. Make sure to include what, if anything, helped ease your pain.

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When To Seek Help/when To See A Doctor

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms all of which can be indicative of a more serious condition:

  • If you have a severe headache with abrupt onset, like a thunderclap.
  • If you experience headache accompanied by fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking.
  • If you have a headache after a head injury.

Book an appointment to see your doctor at a convenient time if you experience any of the following symptoms. These are not urgent but you should get them checked out:

  • If the pattern of your migraines changes or your headaches suddenly feel different.
  • A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement.
  • If you get a new type of headache pain after age 50.

Who Can And Cannot Take Sumatriptan

Most adults with migraines can have sumatriptan tablets or injections. But the nasal spray is only officially approved for people under the age of 65.

Sumatriptan is not officially approved for children. However, a specialist doctor may sometimes prescribe it for a child over the age of 6 years.

Sumatriptan is not suitable for some people. To make sure it’s safe for you, tell your doctor if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction to sumatriptan or any other medicine in the past
  • have a heart problem such as coronary heart disease, chest pain , heart rhythm problems or you’ve had a heart attack
  • have circulation problems in your legs
  • have had a stroke or “mini stroke”
  • have liver disease or other liver problems
  • have seizures or fits
  • are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or breastfeeding
  • are a heavy smoker or use nicotine replacement therapy
  • have high blood pressure

You may be able to use sumatriptan if you’ve had high blood pressure in the past and it is now well controlled with treatment.

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When Are Opioids Or Butalbital Useful For Migraines

Your doctor may suggest an opioid if none of the treatments listed above help, or if you have bad side effects.

It is not clear if butalbital should be used at all for treating migraines. If your doctor prescribes butalbital for your migraines, ask why. And ask if there are any other drugs that would work.

Some Drugs Should Rarely Be Used

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Migraine attacks can last for hoursor even days. They can cause intense pain, nausea, and vomiting. They can make you sensitive to light or noise, and they can affect your life and work.

To treat migraines, you may get a prescription for an opioid or a barbiturate called butalbital. These are pain medicines. But you should think twice about using these drugs. Heres why:

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Who Shouldnt Use It

Scientists donât know if anti-CGRP treatment is safe to use during pregnancy, so itâs best to steer clear if youâre pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. Your doctor also might not recommend it if you have a serious illness like diabetes or heart disease.

CGRP helps your body do many things, including keep your blood pressure stable, and itâs not yet known if these migraine treatments might interfere with that.

To sum all that up, CGRP antagonists are a promising new treatment option developed specifically for migraine. Theyâre effective as an acute or preventive treatment, and can cause fewer side effects than some other medications.

But theyâre pricey, and the long-term impact of using them isnât yet known. If youâre looking for affordable, clinically-proven migraine help, Cove doctors can recommend the right treatment for your needs. Start your consultation today.

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

What Are The Warnings And Precautions With Migraine Medications

In 2006, the FDA warned about combining triptan drugs with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors . Taking the drugs together could cause an overload of serotonin in the body, causing what is known as the “serotonin syndrome.â Symptoms of this life-threatening condition include a rapid increase in blood pressure, fast heart rate, and increased body temperature.

SSRIs include:

The use of topiramate can result in decreased sweating and increased body temperature. This may be especially concerning during hot weather. Wearing light clothes and drinking plenty of fluids while using topiramate during warmer months is very important. A physician should be consulted if body temperature rises.

Serious complications of constipation and new-onset or worsening of pre-existing high blood pressure may occur with the calcitonin-gene related peptide antagonist erenumab .

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Which Medicine Is Best For Migraine

If ordinary painkillers are not relieving migraine headaches, a medication termed Triptan may need to be taken in addition to other painkillers and anti-sickness medicines. These are specific drugs for migraine headaches by bringing about some changes in the brain. In migraine, blood vessels widen to cause a specific type of headache and Triptans are known to narrow these vessels. This drug is available as tablets, injections and nasal sprays.

Similarly, anti-emetics can successfully treat migraine even if one did not experience vomiting. They act best when taken immediately after experiencing migraine symptoms. Usually, they come in the form of a tablet but may also be available as a suppository. Side-effects can be drowsiness and diarrhoea.

Combination medicines are also available for managing migraine. However, a disadvantage of this medicine is that the dosages of either the painkiller or the antiemetic may not be high enough in the combination medicine to relieve the symptoms. In such cases, its better to take painkiller and anti-emetics separately rather than as a combination so as to be able to relieve the symptoms effectively.

Who Does Migraine Affect

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Studies estimate that between 10% and 13% of people worldwide live with migraine. In fact, nearly 5 million Americans experience at least one migraine per month, and more than 11 million say that migraine causes a moderate to severe disability.

But the numbers vary greatly by age and sex. Women are three times as likely as men to have migraine. About 20% of women in the U.S. and 9.7% of men experienced a severe headache or migraine in the past three months, according to one study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Reports of recent migraine pain changed with age. For example, 24.7% of women aged 18-44 years old reported having experienced a severe headache or migraine in the last three months. But among women aged 75 and older, the percent of people with recent migraine was only 6.3%.

So whats a person with migraine to do? If your migraine headaches are frequent, it may be time to seek professional help.

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Botulinum Toxin Injections To Prevent Migraine

In July 2010 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency licensed the use of botulinum toxin injections for the prevention of migraine. This decision was based on research studies that seemed to show it to be an effective treatment at reducing the number of migraine attacks .

Treatment consists of up to five courses of treatment with botulinum toxin injections every 12 weeks. The injections are given into muscles around the head and neck. It is not clear how this treatment may work for migraine. Botulinum toxin relaxes muscles but it may also have some sort of action to block pain signals. The theory is that these actions may have an effect of stopping a migraine headache from being triggered.

In 2012, guidelines were issued by NICE on this treatment. NICE recommends botulinum toxin type A as a possible treatment for preventing headaches in some adults with persistent migraine. The criteria set down by NICE for people who may be considered for this treatment are:

  • If you have chronic migraine and
  • You have already tried at least three different medicine treatments to prevent your chronic migraine headaches, but these have not worked and
  • You are not taking too many painkillers or using them too often.

Also, treatment should be stopped if:

How to use the Yellow Card Scheme

If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme. You can do this online at

  • The side-effect.


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