Maybe you’ve seen flashes of light cross your field of vision and you’ve known a migraine was on its way. Or you’ve headed for bed, waiting for one to ease up.
Almost 30 million Americans get them. They usually feel like pulsing or throbbing on one side of the head. They can also cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. And they can be much more severe than other headaches.
But migraines aren’t all alike. Yours might be very different than someone else’s.
With or Without...
Beta-blockers usually treat high blood pressure and heart disease. It's not clear how they help prevent migraines. But it may be because they improve blood flow. Some that work for these headaches include:
Antidepressants. These medications affect the level of the brain chemical serotonin, which may be linked to migraines. Some of them, such as amitriptyline (Elavil) and venlafaxine (Effexor), can help keep the headaches away. Other kinds may work, too.
Triptans for menstrual-related migraines. These drugs treat migraines when they’re already happening, but one -- frovatriptan (Frova) -- can prevent migraines that women get because of their menstrual cycle. The medicine affects serotonin levels and may also relieve pain in other ways.
Botulinum toxin (Botox). Often used to treat wrinkles, it also helps some people who get migraines at least 15 days per month, called chronic migraines. It’s for people who have long-term migraine headaches, with the attack lasting 4 hours every day or longer. Doctors think Botox may keep the brain from giving off chemicals that the body uses to send pain signals.