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What prescription drugs can help stop a migraine before it starts?

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To stop a migraine before it starts, your doctor may consider these types of prescription drugs:

  • Anticonvulsants. These are medicines that prevent or reduce seizures. Your doctor may recommend valproic acid (Depakene, Depakote) or topiramate (Qudexy XR, Topamax) to prevent your headaches.
  • Beta-blockers. These relax your blood vessels. You can try propranolol (Inderal, Innopran) or metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol).
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox). A doctor can inject small amounts around your face and scalp every three months to stop migraines from happening.
  • Calcium channel blockers. These include diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Tiazac) and verapamil (Calan, Covera HS, Verelan). They ease the narrowing of your blood vessels.
  • Atidepressants. Your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline and nortriptyline (Pamelor). Research suggests duloxetine (Cymbalta) or venlafaxine (Effexor XR)  may be helpful in preventing migraines. 
  • CGRP Inhibitors. CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) is a molecule involved in causing migraine pain. CGRP inhibitors are a new class of drugs that block the effects of CGRP. Erenumab (Aimovig) and fremanezumab (Ajovy) are specifically approved to prevent migraine attacks. You give yourself an injection once a month with a pen-like device.

SOURCES:  American Academy of Neurology: "Evidence-Based Guidelines for Migraine Headache."  George R. Nissan, DO, director of research, Diamond Headache Clinic, Chicago. News release, FDA.





Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 28, 2018

SOURCES:  American Academy of Neurology: "Evidence-Based Guidelines for Migraine Headache."  George R. Nissan, DO, director of research, Diamond Headache Clinic, Chicago. News release, FDA.





Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 28, 2018

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