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    Drugs to Treat Migraine Headaches

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    Drugs for Migraine Prevention

    Category Generic Name Brand Name Treatment Information Possible Side Effects
    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories diclofenac Cataflam Headache pain relief,
    Menstrual migraine prevention
    May raise risk of heart attack or stroke,
    Gastrointestinal upset,
    Drowsiness,
    Dizziness,
    Vision problems,
    Ulcers
      naproxen sodium Aleve,
    Anaprox
    Headache pain relief,
    Menstrual migraine prevention
    May raise risk of heart attack or stroke,
    Gastrointestinal upset or bleeding,
    Nausea,
    Vomiting,
    Rash,
    Liver damage
    Tricyclic antidepressants amitriptyline Elavil Frequently started at low dosages and slowly increased to a therapeutic level.
    EKG may be needed.
    Blood tests may be needed while taking this medication.
    Taken nightly.
    Fatigue,
    Dry mouth,
    Weight gain,
    Constipation,
    Drowsiness,
    Blurred vision,
    Older adults also may feel confusion or faintness.
    SNRI antidepressants venlafaxine Effexor   Sleep problems,
    Drowsiness,
    Dizziness,
    Vision changes,
    Less sexual desire or ability,
    Headaches
    Beta-blockers propranolol,
    metoprolol,
    timolol,
    nadolol,
    atenolol
      Depending on the form, may be taken one to three times a day. Fatigue,
    Depression,
    Weight gain,
    Memory disturbance,
    Faintness,
    Diarrhea
    Calcium channel blockers verapamil,
    nifedipine
      Depends on the form. 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,
    Swelling,
    Fatigue
    Anticonvulsants topiramate Topamax,
    Qudexy XR,
    Topiragen
    Frequently started at low dosages and slowly increased to a therapeutic level. Tingling in the arms,
    Nausea,
    Drowsiness,
    Weight loss
      valproate Depacon,
    Depakote,
    Depaken,
    Stavzor
    Depends on the form. Usually once or twice a day. Nausea
    Tiredness,
    Tremor,
    Dizziness,
    Weight gain,
    Hair loss,
    Birth defects
    Botulinum Toxin Type A onabotulinumtoxin A Botox Multiple injections are given about every 3 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 Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 19, 2014
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