By Robert Preidt
Researchers reviewed recent scientific literature and concluded that a number of classes of drugs were effective for treating acute migraine.
These include triptans, dihydroergotamine (DHE) and many NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen). Also on the list: butorphanol nasal spray, and the combination medications sumatriptan/naproxen and acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine.
Several other medications are "probably effective" or "possibly effective," according to the study in the January issue of the journal Headache.
While powerful opioid pain drugs such as butorphanol, codeine/acetaminophen and tramadol/acetaminophen are likely effective migraine treatments, they are not recommended for regular use, the researchers said.
The study will form the basis of new American Headache Society guidelines for the treatment of migraine.
"We hope that this assessment of the efficacy of currently available migraine therapies helps patients and their physicians utilize treatments that are the most appropriate for them," said study co-author Dr. Stephen Silberstein in a society news release. He is a professor of neurology and director of the Jefferson Headache Center of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
When selecting a medication for migraine patients, doctors must consider the medicine's effectiveness and possible side effects, the researchers said.
Migraines affect about 36 million Americans, according to the American Migraine Foundation.