General Information about Migraine.
Migraines tend to start in childhood, during adolescence or in early adulthood. Untreated migraine can last for hours or even 2-3 days but the frequency varies. Migraines may occur many times a month or be less frequent. Most people experience common migraines, or those without auras. Some people experience auras and these are called classic migraines. Auras may consist of changes to vision, for instance, flashes of light and experiencing pin prick like pains in an arm or leg. One or more sensations of premonition may be experienced some hours or a day prior to when the headache actually begins, including thirst, drowsiness, irritability, depression or feelings of elation or strong energy. Genetics and environmental factors are believed to be a reason and migraines may happen due to changes in the trigeminal nerve or imbalance in chemicals of the brain. Stress, hormonal changes in women, intense physical exertion, changes in environment and certain medications may also act as triggers to a migraine.
Examples of Drugs.
The severity of headaches can be reduced by early treatment. Despite there being a large number of medications, the effectiveness varies from person to person. Medications may either be preventive medications or pain relieving medications and choosing either depends on frequency and severity of headaches. Pain relieving medications are designed to stop symptoms that have already started and are taken during attacks. Preventive medications are taken regularly to lessen the frequency or severity of migraines and are often taken daily.
Pain relieving medications must be taken as soon as symptoms of a migraine are experienced. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin may help relieve mild migraines. Triptans are the preferred choice for most people with severe migraine attacks. Much less expensive and also less effective is Ergotamine.
Preventive medications may help reduce the length, severity and frequency of migraines and might also boost the efficacy of pain relieving medications. Cardiovascular drugs (beta blockers and calcium channel blockers) may help diminish the severity and frequency of migraines and certain antidepressants are also good at helping to prevent certain kinds of headaches, most effective being tricyclic depressants. Some anti-seizure drugs (like Topamax and Depakote), Cyproheptadine and Botulinum toxin type A may also help.
Typical Directions of Use.
A doctor must be consulted before taking the medication. Pain relieving medications must be taken as soon as symptoms of the migraine kick in. Preventive medications may be taken if there are one or more severe attacks a month or if pain relieving medications are not helping. The doctor may prescribe a daily dose of preventive medications or when a trigger is approaching.
Possible Side Effects.
NSAIDs may lead to ulcers, rebound headaches or gastrointestinal bleeding if taken too often or for a long period of time. Butalbital combinations contain a high risk of withdrawal symptoms and rebound headaches. Side effects of cardiovascular drugs may include drowsiness or dizziness. Anti-seizure drugs in high doses may lead to diarrhea, loss of hair, cramps, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.