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How to triptans work to treat migraine headaches in pregnancy?

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Triptans work specifically on the migraine pain pathway. Triptans aren't known to cause birth defects, but most research to date has focused on animals, not humans. Some experts still warn about combining triptans with two common classes of antidepressants:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

The combination was thought to carry the risk of a life-threatening condition called "serotonin syndrome." But many doctors now believe that it is safe for many people to take both medicines. Your doctor can tell you if either is safe for you and your unborn baby.

SOURCES:

National Women's Health Information Center: "Migraine."

Migraine Research Foundation: "About Migraine."

OB/GYN News: "Migraine Drugs."

National Headache Foundation: "Migraine."

Northwestern University Medical School and Illinois Department of Public Health: "Migraine Headache and Pregnancy."

American Headache Society: "Commonly Used Acute Migraine Treatments."

U.S. News & World Report: "Migraine Medications May Cause Serotonin Syndrome."

National Guideline Clearinghouse: "Special Treatment Situations: Standards of Care for Headache Diagnosis and Treatment."

HHS: Indian Health Service: Maternal Child Health: "Migraine and Pregnancy."

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Headache."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 12, 2020

SOURCES:

National Women's Health Information Center: "Migraine."

Migraine Research Foundation: "About Migraine."

OB/GYN News: "Migraine Drugs."

National Headache Foundation: "Migraine."

Northwestern University Medical School and Illinois Department of Public Health: "Migraine Headache and Pregnancy."

American Headache Society: "Commonly Used Acute Migraine Treatments."

U.S. News & World Report: "Migraine Medications May Cause Serotonin Syndrome."

National Guideline Clearinghouse: "Special Treatment Situations: Standards of Care for Headache Diagnosis and Treatment."

HHS: Indian Health Service: Maternal Child Health: "Migraine and Pregnancy."

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "Headache."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 12, 2020

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What medications can be used to treat migraine headaches in pregnancy?

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