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HomeWhat Medicine Is Good For Migraines

What Medicine Is Good For Migraines

Even If You Have Allergies Frequent Headaches May Indicate Migraine

Hamilton suggests talking with your primary care doctor if youre having frequent headaches with allergy symptoms. That might mean that your allergies are actually triggering migraines or contributing, she says.

In that situation it might be useful to try migraine medications both as-needed, or abortive, medications and potentially preventive medications, she adds.

If it is a migraine, treating the attack with decongestants, antihistamines, and other allergy medicines typically wont be as effective as a targeted migraine treatment, says Strauss.

A good rule of thumb is that if youre not getting complete relief of your headaches from over-the-counter medications, or if the headaches are becoming more frequent or frequent enough that you’re having to take an over-the-counter medication several times a week, you should definitely seek a doctors care, says Hamilton.

Over The Counter And Abortives

1. Three Over The Counter Products Are Approved

Thats right three. Only three OTC products are currently on my list of migraine medications because they are approved by The USFDA to specifically treat migraines. These are:

  • Excedrin MigraineĀ®
  • Advil MigraineĀ®
  • Motrin Migraine PainĀ®

The ingredients for Excedrin combine: acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine. It is recommended for reducing migraine pain and the accompanying symptoms.

Both Advil and Motrin contain ibuprofen. They are recommended to treat headaches and the associated pain.

This is what says about Motrin Migraine Pain: “This medicine may cause life-threatening heart or circulation problems such as heart attack or stroke, especially if you use it long term.”

Always discuss the side effects with your doctor before you take anything, or the pharmacist. Remember Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents or NSAIDs carry risks too, even though you can get them over the counter.

I never found any of these OTC combinations by themselves to help reduce my severe migraine pain. Not even a little bit!

It was not until I combined ibuprofen with the triptan Naramig that I found effective relief from the attacks and symptoms.

Please work with your doctor on finding a combination that works for you.

2. Abortive Medications

Here is the approved A-Z list of migraine medications called Triptans, with my accompanying results.

My research reveals these are all potent serotonin 5HT1 agonists:

  • Almotriptan
  • Frovatriptan

How Can I Prevent Migraine Attacks

Not all migraine attacks have an obvious trigger, but sudden changes in daily routine can be a trigger. This includes a missed meal, a late night or doing more strenuous exercise than you normally do. To reduce your chance of having a migraine attack you may find it helpful to make the following lifestyle changes:

  • Have regular meals.
  • Drink enough water/fluid to stay hydrated.
  • Do relaxation and exercises for stress .
  • Aim for a regular sleep pattern and make sure you have enough sleep .
  • Don’t do sudden strenuous exercise.
  • Limit caffeine intake to no more than 2 cups of coffee a day.

Addressing other conditions that may be causing your migraine attacks is also important. These include stress, anxiety, depression, hormonal changes and head or neck trauma. If these are problems, talk to your doctor. They may be able to help you work out how to manage these things.Cognitive behavioural therapy , coping strategies and relaxation training are helpful for many people with migraine, especially if attacks are associated with anxiety or stress. 

What Are The Components Of Headache Medicine

There are many things you need to consider when choosing the best medicine for headaches. Though, the medication chosen by most people are pain relievers. These medications have been around for decades and were already used by our ancestors. While the relied a lot on incantations, herbal concoctions, and whatever else was within their reach, todays headache medicines are as varied as you want them to be.

Here are several pain relievers the most popular ones and their components. This information will help you determine which the best medicine for headaches is.

Naproxen. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS like Naproxen are helpful in bringing down or reducing inflammation. This is done by regulating the hormones responsible for the inflammation. It is often used for arthritis pain but is likewise effective for headaches.

Paracetamol or Acetaminophen. This is one of the most popular and the best medicine for headaches and is useful in fighting against inflammation, particularly the ones that can lead to fever. It is widely available over-the-counter. There are paracetamol medications made especially for children.

Opioid.These are strong medications that should not be used without the doctors approval. They work internally and are responsible for providing relief as the body sends lesser messages to the brain when it is in pain.

Migraine Treatment In Emergency Departments

Managing Childhood Migraines

Opioids continue to be used in over 50 percent of emergency department migraine visits, according to a 2014 study published in Headache, even though medications that directly target migraine symptoms, like triptans, are also available, and may be more effective for many. Migraine patients are routinely prescribed OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and other opioid-based medications in an attempt to treat their headache pain, which some specialists say strays far from the best practices applied within the headache medicine field.

The problem we have is that many physicians treat the symptoms, and not the disease, Silberstein said. So if you have a pain of any type, theyre treated with an opioid, even though evidence strongly suggests that opioids are not as effective as medicine like triptans.

Which Migraine Medications Are Safe To Use While Breastfeeding

Although it is safest to avoid all medications if breastfeeding, this is not always feasible. Therefore, to avoid unwanted side effects in the breastfeeding infant, medications should be used at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest duration. Generally, the same medications used during pregnancy can be continued after delivery and while breastfeeding. An exception is aspirin which may cause bleeding problems and Reye’s syndrome in the nursing baby and should therefore be avoided. Mothers who must take medications should also consider not breastfeeding.

Divalproex should not be used in patients with liver or pancreatic disease.

Which Migraine Medications Are Available Over The Counter

First, it helps to know what types of migraine medications are available over the counter and which ones youll need a prescription for. 

OTC migraine medications include:

The medications listed above are used to treat migraines while youre having one. There are other prescription medications that you can take to help prevent migraines from occurring.

How To Treat Migraine And Get Pain Relief

While there’s no cure for migraine, regardless of the type of migraine you have, a range of treatments are available that can help you manage your migraine symptoms and, in some cases, make them less frequent and severe.

Migraine drugs are generally categorized as acute treatments and preventive treatments. Acute treatments are taken at the first sign of a migraine attack to reduce pain and other symptoms. Some drugs for acute migraine treatment can be taken only once per day, while others can be taken more than once per day if additional symptom relief is needed.

Many preventive migraine treatments are pills that are taken daily, although the newer CGRP antibodies are injected once a month or infused intravenously once every three months. Botox injections, another preventive migraine treatment, are generally given every 12 weeks.

While the development of new drugs is good news, its important to note that new drugs tend to be expensive, meaning they are out of reach for some of the people who could benefit from them. They also dont work for everyone.

Neuromodulation is another option for migraine treatment that has been shown to reduce migraine days or alleviate the symptoms of a migraine attack in some people. A variety of neuromodulation, or neurostimulation, devices can deliver electric or magnetic pulses to specific nerves involved in migraine, calming overexcitable nerves and changing the way pain messages are relayed to the brain.

Why Might Your Doctor Recommend Medicine To Prevent Your Migraines

Your doctor may advise you to take medicine every day to prevent migraines if:

  • You get bad migraines often.
  • Your migraines are so painful that you’re not able to do your daily activities.
  • You use medicine more than twice a week to stop a migraine after it has started.
  • You have tried medicines to stop a migraine, but they don’t help.

Persistent Headache More Typical Of Migraine Than Allergies

Trying to determine what is headache due to migraine versus what is a headache due to allergies is a common issue, says Hamilton. We know that a lot of people can have a misdiagnosis of sinus headaches or headaches from allergies, when in fact their headaches are from migraine.

Hamilton points to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found that 88 percent of people with a history of sinus headaches actually had a migraine-type headache. A large percentage of people were misdiagnosed, she says.

The fact is, headache is not a very common symptom, in and of itself, of seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis. Its much more common to have symptoms such as nasal congestion, like a stuffy nose or runny nose, and eye watering, says Hamilton.

If you do have a headache that persists, it might not be just allergies, she says. That might be an indication that there’s also migraine going on. Typically, headache can be due a sinus infection or viral or bacterial infection, but it’s rare to have a significant headache from just allergy symptoms, says Hamilton.

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.

Can A Migraine Cause A Stroke What Are The Risk Factors

Migraine and stroke may occur at the same time, but a causal link has not been established. When an ischemic stroke occurs during a migraine attack it is called a “migrainous infarction.” The specific type of migraine associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke is migraine with aura, a type of migraine that affects about one-quarter of all people with migraines. Rarely, people with specific migraine symptoms may be related to a higher risk of stroke.

Migraines may be a risk factor for stroke, in that strokes occur more frequently in people who have had migraines, but the strokes do not necessarily occur during migraine attacks.

Key Points About Migraine Disease

Excedrin Migraine Medicine Caplets for Migraine Headache ...

  • About one in 10 people have migraine disease, with more women affected than men. It usually first occurs between 10 and 30 years of age, and may get better in middle age.
  • If you are over 50 and a severe headache occurs for the first time, see your doctor.
  • Some people have a migraine aura before the headache begins. This could be problems with your eyes , dizziness or pins and needles.
  • Treatment includes lifestyle changes and using medicines for relief or, in some cases, to stop a migraine attack from happening.
  • See your doctor if treatments are not helping or if your migraine attacks are happening more often or getting more severe.
  • What Is Headache Medicine

    Headache medicine refers to medication prescribed and recommended for people suffering from headaches, particularly tension headaches. It is also used to provide relief from migraine symptoms. This medication is taken regularly, daily, or as prescribed by the doctor. Even the best medicine for headaches can be bought over-the-counter.

    There are three kinds of medications for headaches: symptomatic relief, preventive therapy, and abortive therapy.

    Symptomatic Relief refers to medications that provide relief for headache symptoms. Some of these medicines can be bought over-the-counter, but there are also others that need doctors prescription. Medicines under this group are used to treat symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and the like.

    Preventive Therapy. 

    Medications under this group are taken every day to help prevent headaches and alleviate the symptoms that come with the condition; it is also considered as one of the best medicine for headaches. This is not a guaranteed cure, but it can help lessen the duration, severity, and frequency of your headache. Most of these medications do not have side effects, but there are those that can cause some. When this happens, the dosage is normally adjusted.

    Abortive Therapy is a medication used to stop a headache while it is still about to happen. It is taken early on and may aid in lessening the symptoms. The minute you feel a headache coming, you need to take this medication. This medication, however, is not safe for children.

    Homeopathy Treatment For Migraine

    Homeopathy is an alternative treatment that has been used for centuries. Its based on the principle of like cures like. The homeopathic remedies are made with natural ingredients and have no side effects.

    There are many different types of homeopathic remedies available but one of the most popular is called Coffea Cruda or Coffee Bean Extract. This remedy can be taken in pill form and it helps relieve migraines by stimulating the nervous system. There are other more common migraine remedies in Homeopathy. Meet our specialists for your custom-made Homeopathy medicines for Migraine if you wish to get cured with natural remedies for migraine.

    Otc Medications For Allergies And Migraine Come With Potential Risks

    If the symptoms of allergies and migraine are fairly mild, they could both be treated with just over-the-counter medications, says Hamilton. I would caution people who are self-treating who think their headaches are from allergies. They may take a lot of allergy medication, and certain ones like Sudafed can potentially cause a worsening headache if you take it frequently, she says.

    Pain relivers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDS, decongestants, and combination medicines that contain caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen or butalbital can all contribute to medication overuse headache , according to the American Migraine Foundation.

    MOH is defined as a headache occurring on 15 or more days per month in a person with a preexisting primary headache and developing as a consequence of regular overuse of acute or symptomatic headache medication, according to the International Headache Society.

    RELATED: 10 Things You Need to Know About Medication-Overuse Headache

    Treatment Of Acute Migraine Headache

    BENJAMIN GILMORE, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California

    MAGDALENA MICHAEL, MD, Mountain Area Health Education Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina

    Am Fam Physician. 2011 Feb 1;83:271-280.

     Patient information: See related handout on this topic at

    Migraine headache is one of the most common, yet potentially debilitating disorders encountered in primary care. Approximately 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States have migraine headaches, and 51 percent of these persons report reduced work or school productivity. Patients typically describe recurrent headaches with similar symptoms, and approximately one-third describe an aura preceding the headache. This article reviews treatment options for acute migraine headache.

    Medications Used To Treat Active Migraines

    Even with the best preventative regimen, people who have chronic migraines will still have their bad days. Sometimes, things like lack of sleep, stress, and even certain foods can trigger a migraine. So, its super important for all people who have migrainesregularly or occasionally to have access to medications that can stop or lessen the severity of a migraine.

    There are 4 main types of medications to treat an acute migraine and, hopefully, put a stop to it:

  • Non-opioid pain relievers. There are a variety of pain relievers available, both prescription and over-the-counter , that are used to treat mild to moderate migraines. Two of the most well-known headache relief medications are and . These types of medications typically have some combination of acetaminophen, anti-inflammatories, and caffeine. While these are great at helping milder migraines, using them too often can cause a headache when you stop using them .
  • Triptans. This group of medications is considered to be a first choice in treating moderate to severe acute migraines. They can even be used if you dont have migraines frequently enough to be diagnosed with chronic migraine. They work best if you take them as soon as a migraine starts. Unfortunately, you can experience rebound migraines if you use them too often. If you find yourself needing them more and more, its time to talk to your doctor about starting or adjusting your preventative medications.
  • Our Free Guide Gives You 5 Tools For Every Day Migraine Prevention

    Holly Hazen is the creator of Migraine Savvy. Her guidance is guaranteed to give you more confidence in your ability to prepare for that next attack and recover faster. Learning resilience and coping skills now will pay off forever!

    If you like this article, please share it on your favorite social channels…

    Nausea Drugs For Migraines

    Many people who have migraines often have nausea and vomiting along with head pain. Those symptoms usually get better when you treat the migraine. But sometimes, the nausea and vomiting are bad enough to keep a person from taking their migrainemedications. In these cases, a nausea drug can ease your symptoms so you can get the treatment you need.

    Most nausea medicines come in pill form, but if the problem is severe, you can take them as a rectal suppository.

    Generic Name

    Confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, upset stomach, excitability, nightmares, uncontrollable muscle movements, lip smacking or chewing movements


    Confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, upset stomach, excitability, nightmares, uncontrollable muscle movements, lip smacking or chewing movements

    Trimetho-benzamide hydrochloride

    Low blood pressure, blurred vision, drowsiness, dizziness, feeling disoriented, uncontrollable muscle movements, lip smacking or chewing movements

    metoclopramide hydrochloride

    Uncontrollable muscle movements, lip smacking or chewing movements, sensitivity to sunlight, aching in the lower legs, diarrhea

    Research On Tylenol Versus Advil


    Whether you reach for acetaminophen or ibuprofen, either will most likely work, although research suggests ibuprofen may be more effective.

    In an older study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, over 450 individuals with tension headache were randomized to receive either 400 mg ibuprofen, 1,000 mg of Tylenol, or placebo. Results showed both were more effective than placebo in alleviating headache, with ibuprofen most effective.

    That being said, other studies have found no difference between Tylenol and NSAIDs in alleviating tension headache pain.

    A review study in Pain found both Tylenol and ibuprofen to be better than placebo at easing moderate to severe tension headaches . Neither was found to be more effective than the other.

    The study also found that the number of people needing to take either Tylenol or ibuprofen to obtain headache relief at two hours was nearly nine for both. This is rather high and means that there are still a lot of people who are not getting proper relief.

    Opioids And Migraine Progression

    The use of opioids in patients with migraine carries a high risk of medication overuse headache . Opioids can cause MOH when used more than ten times per month: if a high-frequency episodic or chronic migraine patient relies on opioids for pain relief, they can easily become dependent, leading to a complicated detoxification process that may aggravate their symptoms.

    Sometimes patients have to be admitted for detoxification, Silberstein said. Other times, they have to be slowly tapered off and carefully monitored, realizing that during the taper, their headaches could get worse.

    Routine use of opioids for migraine treatment often leads to more frequent and severe headaches, and detoxifying from opioid dependency isnt always enough to undo that damage. For many patients, overuse of opioids can trigger the transition from episodic migraine to chronic migraine. Thats why it is crucial to ensure that both simple analgesics and triptans are contraindicated before considering prescribing an opioid medication. These acute medications treat the source of the pain, not just the pain itself, and are less likely to induce migraine progression.

    What Are The Treatment Options To Prevent Menstrual Migraine

    Medications used to treat menstrual migraine are the same as those used to treat other forms of migraine. However, your doctor may recommend other treatments to be take regularly, in order to prevent or reduce the severity and frequency of menstrual migraines.

    To find out more, see the separate leaflet called Migraine Triggered by Periods.

    What Is Migraine With Aura

    In some cases, people with migraines have specific warning symptoms, or an aura, prior to the onset of their headache. These warning signs can range from flashing lights or a blind spot in one eye to numbness or weakness involving one side of the body. The migraine aura may last for several minutes, and then resolves as the head pain begins or may last until the headache resolves. For patients who have never had an aura, it can be frightening and can mimic the symptoms of a stroke.

    • Eye pain

    What is an episodic migraine?

    The International Headache Society defines episodic migraine as being unilateral , pulsing discomfort of moderate-to-severe intensity, which is aggravated by physical activity and associated with nausea and/or vomiting as well as photophobia and/or phonophobia .

    Other migraine headache symptoms and signs of migraines

    What is the difference between a migraine vs. tension headache?

    A tension headache is described as being bilateral and the pain is not pulsating, but feels like pressure or tightness. While severity can be mild-to-moderate, the headache is not disabling and there is no worsening of the pain with routine physical activity; additionally, there is no associated nausea, vomiting, photophobia, or phonophobia.

    How long does a migraine last?

    A migraine headache typically lasts for several hours up to several days.

    Headache Relief Without Medication

    Pharmaceuticals are not the only option for controlling chronic headache pain. In fact, several complementary and alternative medicines are commonly used for this purpose. These include yoga, massage, acupuncture, and aromatherapy.

    In addition to medications and CAMs, finding coping mechanisms for dealing with chronic headaches can go a long way toward prevention and pain control. Check out support groups and forums, involve your family and friends and establish a good relationship with your doctor. When combined with the right drugs, coping mechanisms can help you get your chronic headache pain under control.

    List Of Migraine Medications: How To Pick The Best One

    The long list of migraine medications below gives you many treatment choices. Don’t let it overwhelm you, think of it as having an arsenal of pain relief within reach. You will learn about the medications approved to target migraines and get more effective relief. If you take the wrong thing… it won’t work!

    The latest thing to hit the market is the GCRP drug Aimovig. It’s FDA approved and should you be able to afford it, it could hold the key to prevent your episodic attacks. You can read about that here – The New Drug For Migraine Aimovig.

    Besides the new CGRP meds there are basically three categories that I have broken down so you can easily see whats FDA approved and recommended specifically for the treatment of migraine headaches.

    Here they are:

    Over the Counter , Abortive and Preventative.

    Headache tablets are not recommended for migraines as they perform the wrong action. I have clients that say they take Mersyndol for the pain and then take too many when they don’t work. There is a risk of overdose.

    Let’s get clear on what works for migraines then you can discuss these with your doctor to find what will work best for you.

    A recent Cochrane review of evidence based acute migraine treatments showed the top 9 treatments researched to abort attacks. If you were to try each one separately at the onset of a migraine attack, the statistics show over a 90% chance that one of the treatments could reduce your pain levels from moderate/severe to NO pain within 2 hours.


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