Getting Preventative Medication for Migraines

Source: Mayo Clinic

Migraines can be awful. There are several potential courses of treatment for them, but many of those treatments begin only at the onset of a migraine or aura. Though there are potential preventative treatments available, not every migraine sufferer is a candidate for preventative migraine medications. You might be if you meet one or more of the following criteria.

Migraines that Occur Frequently

Migraine sufferers who experience four or more attacks in a month may be ideal candidates for preventative treatments.

Migraines that Last a Long Time

If your migraines typically last more than twelve hours, preventative treatment may be for you.

Pain Medications Aren’t Helping

If it feels like you’ve tried every pain medication out there to alleviate your migraine pain to no avail, you may be a good candidate for preventative medication.

Your Symptoms are Worse Than Average

People who experience prolonged aura (visual disturbances that are a precursor to the actual migraine attack that last for a long time), numbness in any body part, or weakness may look into preventative medications.

Which Medications Are Used to Prevent Migraines?

There are several types of medications that may be used to treat migraines. Your doctor will recommend a preventative medication for you if you meet the criteria above depending on the severity of symptoms and other biological factors.

  • Botox- It’s not just for wrinkles these days! For migraine treatment, Botox is injected into the forehead and/or neck muscles every twelve weeks or so.
  • Heart medications- Medications intended to treat heart conditions like high blood pressure are frequently prescribed to prevent migraines. Beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors have all been used for prevention and oftentimes acute treatment of migraines.
  • Anti-seizure medications- Topiramate and valproate have been successful in reducing the number of migraines suffered in some people. However, they come with a high risk of side effects when used a higher doses.
  • Anti-depressants- Tricyclic antidepressants may help prevent migraines. They’ve been successful even in people not diagnosed with depression. It’s thought that they do this by affecting brain chemistry.
  • NSAIDs- These pain relieving medications are sometimes used long-term to prevent migraines. The NSAID most often used for this purpose is naproxen.