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Drugs to Treat Migraine Headaches

(continued)

Drugs for Migraine Prevention

CategoryGeneric NameBrand NameSymptoms RelievedPossible Side Effects
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatoriesdiclofenacCataflamHeadache pain reliefGastrointestinal upset,
drowsiness, dizziness,
vision problems,
ulcers
 Naproxen sodiumAleve AnaproxHeadache pain reliefGastrointestinal upset,
gastrointestinal bleeding,
nausea,
vomiting,
rash,
liver damage
Tricyclic antidepressantsamitriptylineElavilInstructions: Frequently started at low dosages and slowly increased to a therapeutic level.
EKG optional.
Periodic blood tests are required while taking this medication.
Taken nightly.
Fatigue
Dry mouth
Weight gain
Constipation
Drowsiness
Blurred vision
Older adults also may experience confusion or faintness.
 imipramineTofranilInstructions: Frequently started at low dosages and slowly increased to a therapeutic level.Dizziness
Drowsiness
Dry mouth
Weakness
Weight gain
SSRI antidepressantsfluoxetineProzacNot usually effective for treating chronic tension headaches. Instructions: Frequently started at low doses and slowly increased to a therapeutic level.
Usually taken in the morning.
Nausea
Dry mouth
Increased appetite
Agitation
 venlafazineEffexorNot usually effective for treating chronic tension headaches.Vision changes,
decrease in sexual desire or ability, headaches
Beta-BlockerspropranololInderalInstructions: Depending on the form, may be taken one to three times a day.Fatigue
Depression
Weight gain
Memory disturbance
Faintness
Diarrhea
Calcium channel blockersdiltiazemCardizemInstructions: Frequently started at low dosages and slowly increased to a therapeutic level.
Taken twice a day; usually the first dose is taken in the morning.
Constipation
Dizziness
Anticonvulsants
 
    
Anticonvulsants
 
TopiramateTopamaxInstructions: Frequently started at low dosages and slowly increased to a therapeutic level.Tingling in the arms
Nausea
Drowsiness
Weight loss
Botulinum ToxinType AonabotulinumtoxinABotoxMultiple injections are given about every three months to prevent chronic headache. Headache
Neck pain

Warning: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public health advisory about potential risks of taking triptans together with SSRI and SNRI antidepressants: "A life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome may occur when triptans are used together with a SSRI or a SNRI."

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on February 24, 2013
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