Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Drugs to Treat Migraine Headaches


What Are Preventive Drugs for Migraines?

Preventive drugs, prescribed to take on a daily basis, are used to treat very frequent migraines. They can also be used if migraine-specific medications are not effective or can't be used by an individual. Preventive treatment is aimed at reducing both the frequency and severity of the headaches.

To be effective, all preventive medications must be taken one or more times every day. It may be necessary for your doctor to change the medications and modify their dosages in order to discover which drug or combination of drugs, and at which dosages, work best to reduce the frequency and severity of your migraine headache pain.

While you are taking preventive medications, carefully recording your headache frequency and severity on a daily basis will help your doctor judge how the medications are working. Most of these medications require days to weeks to become effective.

Once good headache control has been achieved and maintained for six months or a year, it may be possible to taper and stop these drugs. In other cases, it may be necessary to take the medications for a longer period of time. Your doctor will provide the recommendations that are right for you.

The medications listed include both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. These drugs are not habit-forming, but any medication can cause unwanted side effects. Your doctor will work with you to carefully regulate the dosage so that side effects are minimized and headache relief is maximized.

WebMD Medical Reference

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

woman receiving acupuncture
14 alternative methods for migraine relief.
woman with migraine
Get the truth about migraines.
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
desert heat
12 surprising headache triggers.
woman with migraine
drinking coffee
Migraines Headaches Basics
acupuncture needles in woman's back
young woman with migraine
spraying perfume
man with a headache
headache in the bedroom

Special Sections