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    Migraine Prevention: What You Can Do

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    When you’ve had the throbbing pain of a migraine, you want to do what you can to avoid another one.

    If you get these headaches often or have severe ones, avoid the things that you know set them off, called triggers, like specific foods, smells, and alcohol, for example.

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    What Type of Migraine Do I Have?

    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...

    Read the What Type of Migraine Do I Have? article > >

    You might be able to keep migraines away with a couple other tactics, too:

    • Use preventive medications or devices.
    • Make lifestyle changes.


    Preventive Migraine Medications

    These meds can:

    • Help you have fewer migraines.
    • Make your headaches less severe.
    • Make them shorter.

    This type of treatment can  help if you get migraines often. Medications can reduce them by half or more.

    You may want to consider preventive medications if:

    • The drugs you take to relieve your migraines don't help or you have bad side effects from them.
    • You have them more than one a week.

    The latest guidelines say these drugs can prevent migraines:

    Anti-seizure drugs. These meds may work by calming nerve cells in the brain.

    They include:

    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.

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