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Migraines & Headaches Health Center

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Drugs to Treat Migraine Headaches

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Some medications can relieve the pain and symptoms of a migraine headache. Other medications can prevent further attacks.

Below are some of the treatments for migraines.

Drugs That Stop Migraines

Abortive drugs are used at the first sign of a migraine and can stop the process that causes the headache pain after it has started. This often prevents common symptoms like pain, nausea, and sound and light sensitivity. Some medications should not be used during a migraine with aura, so follow your doctor's instructions.

The following medications are used to stop the migraine headache process:

Category Generic Name Brand Name May be used during an aura? Some Possible Side Effects
Over-the-counter ibuprofen Motrin   Stomach upset or bleeding,
Rash,
Swelling
  aspirin + acetaminophen + caffeine Excedrin Migraine,
Excedrin,
Goody's
  Heartburn,
Anxiety,
Insomnia,
Allergic reaction,
Liver damage,
Blood in stool or vomit,
Dizziness,
Easy bruising
  acetaminophen Tylenol,
Valorin,
Excedrin Tension Headache
  Liver damage,
Allergic reactions,
Rashes
  naproxen

Aleve (Anaprox, 
Naprosyn by prescription only)

 

  May raise risk of heart attack or stroke,
Gastrointestinal upset,
Gastrointestinal bleeding,
Nausea,
Vomiting,
Rash,
Liver damage
Ergot dihydroergotamine Ergomar,
DHE-45 injection,
Migranal intranasal
Yes, as indicated for Migranal intranasal only Nausea,
Numbness of fingers and toes
Vasoconstrictor combination acetaminophen + isometheptene mucate + dichloralphenazone

Midrin,
Duradrin,
Nadolar

Yes Liver damage,
Sedation,
Nausea
Triptans sumatriptan succinate Imitrex injection, oral, or intranasal;
Zecuity skin patch
No (injection)
Yes (oral, patch, or intranasal)
Dizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
  zolmitriptan Zomig Yes Dizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
  rizatriptan Maxalt Yes Dizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
  naratriptan hydrochloride Amerge Yes Dizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
  almotriptan Axert Yes Tiredness,
Dizziness,
Headache,
Nausea,
Numbness,
Tingling
  frovatriptan Frova No Dizziness,
Flushing,
Palpitations,
Chest pain,
Headache,
Tingling,
Nausea
  eletriptan Relpax Yes Dizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea,
Headache
Combination triptan + NSAID sumatriptan + naproxen Treximet   May raise risk of heart attack or stroke,
Head, jaw, chest, and arm discomfort, tightening or tingling,
Throat discomfort,
Muscle cramps,
Flushing,
Gastrointestinal upset or bleeding,
Nausea,
Vomiting,
Rash,
Liver damage
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