Top 5 Migraine Treatments

Top 5 Migraine Treatments
Top 5 Migraine Treatments

Top 5 Migraine Treatments - There are several medications that are traditionally used to treat migraine headaches and provide relief from the excruciating pain, sensitivity to light and nausea that often accompany a migraine. Though there are several medication one could choose from, there are only a few that have been thoroughly tested and approved by the FDA for prescription use.

The top five migraine treatments include pain relievers, triptans, ergotamine, opioids and prescription nausea medications.
  • Pain relievers can be purchased in an over-the-counter format or, if the pain is severe and persistent, be prescribed in a stronger dosage as a migraine treatment. Over-the-counters such as Alleve, Tylenol, Excedrin and Ibuprofen can work very efficiently at reducing the intensity of migraine pain. These have been seen to have the most effective result if they are taken at the very onset of migraine pain.
  • Triptans are another class of pain relievers that are available through prescription only and are most commonly found as sumatriptan. There have been other effective triptans tested including almotriptan and rizatriptan. The triptan class of medications is prescribed when common over-the-counter analgesics such as Alleve or Tylenol are not effective. Only one of the triptan family of medications is currently being tested for use in children with migraines, zolmitriptan. Otherwise, triptans should only be prescribed for adults. Another benefit that has been found with the triptan class of medications is their ability to alleviate the sensitivity to light that often accompanies a migraine headache. Whereas over-the-counter, and even prescription strength, pain killers have been found to alleviate pain, they have little to no effect on nausea or light-sensitivity.
  • Ergotamine is a lesser known pain reliever that can be used for migraine headache treatment and is commonly found in the medication Migranal. Ergotamine works as a blood vessel constrictor, which counteracts the blood vessel dilation that is thought to cause migraines in the first place.
  • Opioids, which are often prescribed for those with acute severe migraine headaches, unfortunately, have been found to potentially increase the frequency of headaches. While, in past years, opioids such as oxycontin or hydrocodone have been prescribed to alleviate the severe debilitating pain, they have been found to be unduly addictive and produce other side effects that are not desirable. Triptans have become the more preferable of the prescribed pain relievers, taking the place of opioids for pain relief.
  • In some extremely severe cases of migraine headaches, doctors may find it necessary to prescribe strong anti-nausea medications for the patient. Metaclopramide is the most common prescription strength anti-nausea medications used to treat migraine with nausea and vomiting. This medication is normally only prescribed for those patients with severe nausea and vomiting that cannot be controlled by milder over-the-counter anti-emetic medication.

Unfortunately for children and adolescents who suffer from migraine headaches, the top migraine treatments include prescription medications that are not considered safe for use in children. There have been, in recent years, more thorough studies done on zolmitriptan in order to determine if this can be used to treat young patients with migraine pain that cannot be controlled with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. In most cases of younger patients, changes in diet and exercise are the best treatments to avoid the onset of migraines.

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