Fortunately, you have a lot of prescription treatment options when it comes to migraines. It’s smart to research popular migraine medications. Here’s a short list of the most popular to get you started.
Popular Migraine Medications: What To Expect
Expect your doctor to help you make a plan that could range from one simple rescue medication to a more complex plan with several types of medications for different situations.
There are two kinds of prescription migraine medication:
Acute – to treat symptoms as they’re occurring. Almost all plans include acute medications.
Preventative – to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines on an ongoing basis.
Most Popular Migraine Medications
Ergotamines were the first class of prescription drugs introduced for migraines. Popular trade names are Migranal, Ergomar or Methergine. These drugs are available as pills, injections, suppositories, and nasal sprays. You take them at the first sign of migraine symptoms, and you can usually take a dose every 30 minutes until your migraine is gone. However, you can’t take ergotamines if you’re pregnant as they’re known to cause birth defects.
Triptans are a newer class of drugs, and more frequently prescribed these days. Triptans, also available in pills, injections and sprays, work by raising your serotonin levels, which reduces inflammation. They work quickly and are extremely effective. Names you might see are Imitrex, Frova and Zomig, among others. triptans have light side effects, like dizziness and tingling. If you have a higher risk of stroke, you shouldn’t take triptans.
If your migraine pain doesn’t respond to the other two classes of drugs or you can’t take them for other reasons, doctors will often prescribe opioids, like codeine or morphine. Opioids are effective, but highly addictive. They’re rarely prescribed, but maybe be a last resort if you aren’t able to take other migraine medications.
Beta blockers work on your cardiovascular system and are a preventative medication that you would take regularly to decrease your migraine frequency before they begin. While effective, they can take several weeks to start showing improvement.
A promising newer drug, Aimovig, is a self-administered injection given once a month. Aimovig works by inhibiting a molecule known to cause migraine pain.
Yes, botox. Another preventative drug, Botox is administered by your doctor with injections into your neck and facial muscles. You would get the injections every three months or so. And Botox is covered by most insurance plans for migraine relief.
For more information, the Mayo Clinic has compiled a thorough list of migraine medication options.
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