Nervous system disorders

Migraine

About Migraine

If you suffer from migraine headaches, you're not alone. About 12 percent of the U.S. population gets them. Migraines are recurring attacks of moderate to severe pain. The pain is throbbing or pulsing, and is often on one side of the head. During migraines, people are very sensitive to light and sound. They may also become nauseated and vomit.

Migraine is three times more common in women than in men. Some people can tell when they are about to have a migraine because they see flashing lights or zigzag lines or they temporarily lose their vision.

Many things can trigger a migraine. These include

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Lack of food or sleep
  • Exposure to light
  • Hormonal changes (in women)

Doctors used to believe migraines were linked to the opening and narrowing of blood vessels in the head. Now they believe the cause is related to genes that control the activity of some brain cells. Medicines can help prevent migraine attacks or help relieve symptoms of attacks when they happen. For many people, treatments to relieve stress can also help.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Migraine
  • Throbbing or pulsing headache, usually on one side of the head
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Aura: Flashing lights or zigzagging lines in your vision

Top Medications for Migraine according to our users

Button Group. All currently active

All Medications for Migraine

  • Pain reliever > Salicylate

  • Pain reliever > Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)

    • Ibuprofen
      Prescription or OTC

      Advil (Ibuprofen) works well for mild to moderate pain and inflammation, but it doesn't last as long as other NSAIDs.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Chewable tablet
      • Oral suspension
    • Cambia
      (Diclofenac potassium)
      Prescription only

      Cataflam (Diclofenac Potassium) is an okay medication used to treat pain and swelling. However, because of the risk of heart attack, it's recommended to limit the amount you take.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Powder for oral solution
    • Voltaren
      (Diclofenac sodium)
      Prescription only

      Voltaren (Diclofenac Sodium) works well for pain and causes less upset stomach than other NSAIDs.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Extended release
      • Cream, gel, or ointment
      • Eye drops
  • Anticoagulant > Anti-platelet

Anticonvulsant

  • Lamictal
    (Lamotrigine)
    Prescription only

    Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is most useful for treating severe seizure disorders, and for bipolar disorder with more depression symptoms than manic symptoms. Just be careful to increase your dose slowly to avoid skin rash.Will Lamictal work for you?

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
    • Chewable tablet
    • Dissolving tablet
  • Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is good long-term prevention for epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines, but can cause weight gain.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
    • Extended release capsule
    • Sprinkle
    • Liquid
  • Topamax
    (Topiramate)
    Prescription only

    Qudexy Xr (Topiramate) is useful for preventing seizures and migraines, and doesn't require blood tests while you're on it.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release capsule
  • Keppra
    (Levetiracetam)
    Prescription only

    Keppra (Levetiracetam) is effective for preventing seizures in people with epilepsy. Compared to other anti-seizure medications, it has few drug interactions and you don’t need to get your levels checked.

    Was it worth it?
    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
    • Liquid
  • Antimigraine > Triptan

    • Imitrex
      (Sumatriptan)
      Prescription only

      Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Injection
      • Nasal spray
    • Maxalt
      (Rizatriptan)
      Prescription only

      Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is great for relieving short migraines, but doesn't work as well for long-lasting headaches.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Dissolving tablet
  • Antihypertensive > Beta blocker

    • Propranolol
      Prescription only

      Inderal (Propranolol) is good for treating many heart problems and other problems in the body, but it has more side effects than other beta blockers. You can't miss doses.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
      • Liquid
    • Atenolol
      Prescription only

      Tenormin (Atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating heart failure and heart attack with fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You have to take it on an empty stomach, and you can't miss doses.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Bystolic
      (Nebivolol)
      Prescription only

      Bystolic (Nebivolol) is a good blood pressure-lowering medicine for people with heart conditions, and has fewer side effects than other beta blockers, but it's expensive. You can't miss doses.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Lopressor
      (Metoprolol tartrate)
      Prescription only

      Lopressor (Metoprolol Tartrate) is good for controlling chest pain and treating heart failure and heart attack. You have to take it with food, and you can't miss doses.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Bisoprolol
      Prescription only

      Zebeta (Bisoprolol) is usually given to people who have taken other blood pressure meds unsuccessfully or have recently had significant heart problems.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
  • Antihypertensive > Angiotensin receptor blocker

    • Atacand
      (Candesartan)
      Prescription only

      Atacand (Candesartan) is a good blood pressure-lowering medicine that protects kidney function just like ACE inhibitors, but has fewer side effects.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
  • Antihypertensive > Calcium channel blocker

    • Calan
      (Verapamil)
      Prescription only

      Verapamil works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain, but you have to be okay with avoiding alcohol. You can't miss doses, and you might get persistent swelling.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
      • Delayed release capsule
  • Antihypertensive > ACE inhibitor

  • Antidepressant > Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)

    • Effexor
      (Venlafaxine)
      Prescription only

      Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. May work when other antidepressants haven't, it's but more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.Will Effexor work for you?

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
  • Antidepressant > Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)

    • Elavil
      (Amitriptyline)
      Prescription only

      Elavil (Amitriptyline) is an older antidepressant that's sometimes used to treat pain and sleep problems, but it can have more side effects than similar medications.Will Elavil work for you?

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill

Medication side effects for Migraine

These are some of the most common side effects from clinical trials for abdominal pain.

  • Topamax: 7%
  • Depakote: 23%
0 of 100

At this end, no one is expected to have abdominal pain

100 of 100

At this end, almost everyone is expected to have abdominal pain

Tips, success stories, and coping strategies for Migraine

What tip would you give someone like me who was just diagnosed?
  • If you are averse to taking pills, think of how much stress it is for your body to withstand migraine attack longer then 1 day. And take the pills early!
  • figure out if you can predict the migraines: menstrual cycle, stimuli such as lighting, etc
  • Talk to your doctor early and often
  • Don't get migraines
  • triptans
  • Don't let a migraine go for too long. Then nothing will help
  • frova for menstrual migraines
  • Groves for menstrual migraine
What’s your best coping strategy?
  • I stopped using alcohol because few times i got post-hangover-migranes.
  • mindfulness
  • Keep a diary of triggers. Avoid as many as possible.
  • reducing computer usage
  • Change my diet
Besides medications, what else has worked for you?
  • cold, lots of oxygen, darkness, silence
  • Sunglasses, caffeine, hot beverage
  • Petadolex Supplement
  • Migraine smoothies. Pineapple juice, celery, ginger, lemon, kale and cucumber :)
  • complete darkness/isolation/silence
  • Acupuncture
  • Magnesium vitamins