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    Drugs for Migraine and Headache Pain

    Pain relievers are typically the first drugs recommended by doctors for migraine and headaches. Many of these medications are over-the-counter, or available without a doctor's prescription, while other headache drugs require a prescription. When taking these headache drugs, avoid products that contain caffeine. Any medication containing barbiturates or narcotics should be used sparingly.

    Note: if symptomatic relief medications are used more than twice a week, you should see your doctor, who may prescribe preventive headache medications. Overuse of symptomatic medications can actually cause more frequent headaches or worsen headache symptoms.

    Drugs for relief of migraine or headache symptoms include:

    Generic Name

    Brand Name

    Use

    Precautions

    Possible Side Effects

    Acetaminophen

    Tylenol

    Pain relief

    Few side effects if taken as directed, although they may include: changes in blood counts and liver damage

    Aspirin

    Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin

    Pain relief

    Do not use in children younger than age 14 years due to the potential for Reye's syndrome (a life-threatening neurological condition)

    Heartburn, gastrointestinal bleeding, bronchospasm or constriction that causes narrowing of the airways, anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction), ulcers

    Fenoprofen

    Nalfon

    Prevention of tension headaches; migraines; hormone headaches

    Nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, dizziness, drowsiness

    Flurbiprofen

    Ansaid

    Prevention of tension headaches; migraines. Treatment of tension headache; migraines

    Gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, dizziness, vision problems, ulcers

    Ibuprofen

    Advil, Motrin IB, Nuprin

    Treatment of tension headache; migraines

    Gastrointestinal upset, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, rash, liver damage

    Ketoprofen

    Actron

    Prevention of tension headaches; migraines. Treatment of migraines

    Gastrointestinal upset, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, rash, liver damage

    Nabumetone

    Relafen

    Prevention of tension headaches; migraines

    Constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting

    Naproxen

    Aleve

    Prevention of tension headaches; hormone headaches. Treatment of migraines

    Gastrointestinal upset, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, rash, liver damage

    Diclofenac

    Cataflam

    Treatment of tension headache; migraines

    Stomach upset, bloating, dizziness, drowsiness, loss of appetite

    Ketorolac

    Toradol

    Treatment of tension headache

    Gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, dizziness, vision problems, ulcers

    Meclofenate

    Meclomen

    Treatment of tension headache

    Nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, dizziness, drowsiness

    Carisoprodol

    Soma

    Treatment of tension headache

    Dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, headache, nervousness, skin rash, bleeding

    Orphenadrine citrate

    Norflex

    Treatment of tension headache

    Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nervousness, blurred vision

    Methocarbamol

    Robaxin

    Treatment of tension headache

    Dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, darkening of urine

    Cyclobenzaprine HCL

    Flexeril

    Treatment of tension headache

    Dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness

    Metaxalone

    Skelaxin

    Treatment of tension headache

    Drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nervousness

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