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How do beta-blockers work to prevent migraines?

ANSWER

Beta-blockers usually treat high blood pressure and heart disease. It's not clear how they help prevent migraines, but they do improve blood flow. Some that work for these headaches include:

  • Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
  • Propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL)
  • Timolol 

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Migraine Information Page."

Silberstein, S. , April 24, 2012. Neurology

Migraine Research Foundation: "About Migraine."

National Headache Foundation: "Migraine Prevention: A Guide to the Latest Methods and Treatments."

Huntington J. , Oct. 15, 2005. American Family Physician

Epilepsy Action Australia: "Epilepsy and Migraine -- More than just a headache."

News release, FDA.

The Migraine Trust: "Botox for Migraine."

American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education (ACHE): "Preventive Treatments."

American College of Physicians: "Managing Migraine: How to prevent and control migraine headaches."

Silberstein, S. , Sept. 26, 2000. Neurology

University of Berkeley: "Guide to Managing Migraines."

Bastyr Center for Natural Health: "Exercise: A New Migraine Headache Therapy."

Varkey, E. , 2011. Cephalalgia

American Headache Society: "Headache Hygiene Tips."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Headaches and CAM."

National Headache Foundation: "Migraine."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 22, 2017

SOURCES:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: "Migraine Information Page."

Silberstein, S. , April 24, 2012. Neurology

Migraine Research Foundation: "About Migraine."

National Headache Foundation: "Migraine Prevention: A Guide to the Latest Methods and Treatments."

Huntington J. , Oct. 15, 2005. American Family Physician

Epilepsy Action Australia: "Epilepsy and Migraine -- More than just a headache."

News release, FDA.

The Migraine Trust: "Botox for Migraine."

American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education (ACHE): "Preventive Treatments."

American College of Physicians: "Managing Migraine: How to prevent and control migraine headaches."

Silberstein, S. , Sept. 26, 2000. Neurology

University of Berkeley: "Guide to Managing Migraines."

Bastyr Center for Natural Health: "Exercise: A New Migraine Headache Therapy."

Varkey, E. , 2011. Cephalalgia

American Headache Society: "Headache Hygiene Tips."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Headaches and CAM."

National Headache Foundation: "Migraine."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 22, 2017

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How do antidepressants work to prevent migraines?

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