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

Filter group. All currently selected

All Medications for Migraine

  • almotriptan
    Prescription only

    Axert (almotriptan) is better than other similar medications for migraines for pain relief.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Amerge
    (naratriptan)
    Prescription only

    Amerge (naratriptan) isn't as good as other similar medications for migraines, but can be good if other drugs haven't worked for you.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Aspirin
    Over-the-counter

    A low dose of Aspirin (81mg) every day can protect your heart, but it's not the best medicine to take for pain, swelling, or fever.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Cafergot
    (ergotamine / caffeine)
    Prescription only

    Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) can treat migraines, but you're more likely to have side effects.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Suppository
  • dihydroergotamine
    Prescription only

    Migranal (dihydroergotamine) is not as good as other medicines to treat migraines because of side effects, but it can be an alternative if these haven't worked.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Nasal spray
    • Injection
  • ergotamine
    Prescription only

    Ergomar (ergotamine) has more side effects than other medicines used to treat migraines.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Dissolving pill
  • Frova
    (frovatriptan)
    Prescription only

    Triptans are the first-choice to treat migraines. Frova (frovatriptan) works just as well as other triptans for migraines, but doesn't work for other types of headaches like cluster headaches.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Maxalt MLT
    (rizatriptan)
    Prescription only

    Triptans are first-choice for migraines. Maxalt (rizatriptan) works just as well as other triptans, but is available as a fast dissolving tablet, if you have trouble swallowing during a migraine attack.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Dissolving tablet
  • Onzetra
    (sumatriptan)
    Prescription only

    Onzetra (sumatriptan) is the only medicine that's available in a breath-powered nose powder to treat migraines. However, it can be expensive compared to other medicines.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Nasal powder
  • Relpax
    (eletriptan)
    Prescription only

    Relpax (eletriptan) is a first choice medicine to treat migraines, but it can be expensive.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Sumavel-Dosepro
    (sumatriptan injection)
    Prescription only

    Sumavel-Dosepro (sumatriptan injection) is a new way to take sumatriptan for your migraine or cluster headaches, but it's only available as a brand name so it can be expensive.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Injection
  • Voltaren
    (diclofenac)
    Prescription only

    Cambia (diclofenac) works well for pain and is available in many different forms. If you have a history of heart problems or stomach bleeds, it may not be the best choice.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Injection
  • Zembrace
    (sumatriptan)
    Prescription only

    While Zembrace (sumatriptan) can be used to treat migraines, it’s only available as a brand name so it can be expensive.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Injection
  • Zomig
    (zolmitriptan)
    Prescription only

    Triptans are the first-choice to treat migraines. Zomig (zolmitriptan) works just as well as other triptans for migraines.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Dissolving tablet
    • Nasal spray
  • 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.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
    • Chewable tablet
    • Dissolving tablet
  • 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.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Powder for oral solution
  • Imitrex
    (sumatriptan)
    Prescription only

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

    Was it worth it?
    Men
    Not enough review data. Review it!
    Women
    72%
    • 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?
    Men
    Not enough review data. Review it!
    Women
    76%
    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Dissolving tablet
  • ibuprofen
    Over-the-counter

    Advil (ibuprofen) works well for treating fever, inflammation, and a variety of mild to moderate pain conditions, but it doesn't last as long as other NSAIDs.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Chewable tablet
    • Suspension
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

    Was it worth it?
    Men
    Not enough review data. Review it!
    Women
    50%
    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release capsule
  • Atenolol
    Prescription only

    Tenormin (atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating a heart attack. It has fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You need to take it on an empty stomach and you can't skip 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
  • 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.

    Was it worth it?
    Men
    30%
    Women
    Not enough review data. Review it!
    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
    • Delayed release capsule
  • Effexor
    (venlafaxine)
    Prescription only

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

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
  • 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.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
  • Enalapril
    Prescription only

    Enalapril is a good blood pressure-lowering medicine that protects kidney function.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Liquid
  • ibuprofen
    Over-the-counter

    Advil (ibuprofen) works well for treating fever, inflammation, and a variety of mild to moderate pain conditions, but it doesn't last as long as other NSAIDs.

    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Chewable tablet
    • Suspension
  • 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?
    Men
    Not enough review data. Review it!
    Women
    44%
    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill
    • Extended release
    • Liquid
  • 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?
    Men
    Not enough review data. Review it!
    Women
    Not enough review data. Review it!
    • Available dosage forms:
    • Pill

Medication side effects for Migraine

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

  • Amerge: 2%
  • Relpax: 8%
  • almotriptan: 14%
0 of 100

At this end, no one is expected to have Dizziness

100 of 100

At this end, almost everyone is expected to have Dizziness

Tips, success stories, and coping strategies for Migraine

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