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Drugs to Treat Migraine Headaches

Some medications can relieve the pain and symptoms of a migraine headache. Other medications can prevent further attacks.

Below are some of the treatments for migraines.

Drugs That Stop Migraines

Abortive drugs are used at the first sign of a migraine and can stop the process that causes the headache pain after it has started. This often prevents common symptoms like pain, nausea, and sound and light sensitivity. Some medications should not be used during a migraine with aura, so follow your doctor's instructions.

The following medications are used to stop the migraine headache process:

CategoryGeneric NameBrand NameMay be used during an aura?Possible Side Effects
Over-the-counteribuprofenMotrin Stomach upset or bleeding,
Rash,
Swelling
 aspirin + acetaminophen + caffeineExcedrin Migraine,
Excedrin,
Goody's
 Heartburn,
Anxiety,
Insomnia,
Allergic reaction,
Liver damage,
Blood in stool or vomit,
Dizziness,
Easy bruising
 acetaminophenTylenol,
Valorin,
Excedrin Tension Headache
 Liver damage,
Allergic reactions,
Rashes
 naproxenAleve May raise risk of heart attack or stroke,
Gastrointestinal upset,
Gastrointestinal bleeding,
Nausea,
Vomiting,
Rash,
Liver damage
ErgotdihydroergotamineErgomar,
DHE-45 injection,
Migranal intranasal
Yes, as indicated for Migranal intranasal onlyNausea,
Numbness of fingers and toes
Vasoconstrictor combinationacetaminophen + isometheptene mucate + dichloralphenazoneMidrin,
Duradrin
YesLiver damage,
Sedation,
Nausea
Triptanssumatriptan succinateImitrex injection, oral, or intranasal;
Zecuity skin patch
No (injection)
Yes (oral, patch, or intranasal)
Dizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
 zolmitriptanZomigYesDizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
 rizatriptanMaxaltYesDizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
 naratriptan hydrochlorideAmergeYesDizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea
 almotriptanAxertYesTiredness,
Dizziness,
Headache,
Nausea,
Numbness,
Tingling
 frovatriptanFrovaNoDizziness,
Flushing,
Palpitations,
Chest pain,
Headache,
Tingling,
Nausea
 eletriptanRelpaxYesDizziness,
Tingling,
Flushing,
Feelings of heaviness, burning, or tightness,
Chest discomfort,
Nausea,
Headache
Combination triptan + NSAIDsumatriptan + naproxenTreximet May raise risk of heart attack or stroke,
Head, jaw, chest, and arm discomfort, tightening or tingling,
Throat discomfort,
Muscle cramps,
Flushing,
Gastrointestinal upset or bleeding,
Nausea,
Vomiting,
Rash,
Liver damage
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