Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size

Migraine Guidelines Focus on Prevention

Key Medications Listed to Help Prevent Migraine Headaches

Do You Need Migraine Prevention Treatment? continued...

That is not the only reason, says Richard B. Lipton, MD. He is the director of the Montefiore Headache Center in New York City. "Many people with migraine don't think of it as a treatable medical disorder," he says. "They don't consult doctors and don't know that what they have is a migraine problem."

Others don't think that they will benefit from prevention. That said, not all people with migraine headache need to take preventive treatments.

If you have, or think you have, migraine headaches, the first step is to see a specialist and get a proper diagnosis, Lipton says. Treatment will depend on the frequency and severity of your headaches.

"Some people have one migraine a month, take over-the-counter medication, and can return to their usual activities," he says. "Others might have 10 headache days a month that are disabling on five or six days, and they almost certainly need prevention and effective treatments for when they do get a headache."

Learning what triggers your migraine headache and taking steps to avoid those triggers also helps, he says.

Buyer Beware of Butterbur

The new guidelines support the use of the herb butterbur. But if the herb is not extracted properly then the drug isn't safe, Lipton says. Choose a well-known brand, and follow the dosing instructions on the label.

Some butterbur products may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). PAs can damage the liver, lungs, and blood circulation, and possibly cause cancer. Butterbur products that contain PAs are unsafe when taken by mouth.

Exactly how butterbur may stave off migraine headache is not clear, but it may have anti-inflammatory properties like NSAIDs.

1|2

Today on WebMD

woman receiving acupuncture
14 alternative methods for migraine relief.
woman with migraine
Get the truth about migraines.
 
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
desert heat
12 surprising headache triggers.
 
woman with migraine
Quiz
drinking coffee
Article
 
Migraines Headaches Basics
Article
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
 
young woman with migraine
Articles
spraying perfume
Article
 
man with a headache
Article
headache in the bedroom
Article
 

Special Sections