Migraines are a serious neurological condition that can become deadly in some cases as the cause of many migraines is the dilation of the blood vessels in the brain. More than 32 Million Americans are currently suffering from migraines, most of whom are women, and the number is continuously rising every year. Migraines cause excruciating pain that can be debilitating to those who suffer from migraines, as well as other symptoms such as, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and even some visual cues such as auras or halos, and temporary blindness. While there are no true cures for migraines, many migraine medications will help to relieve the pain, prevent the migraine, and help with the symptoms that come with these painful episodes.
Some of the medications that are used for migraines include both over-the-counter, as well as prescription medications that are suggested to those who suffer from extreme migraines although many of them simply provide mild to moderate relief. Many of the medications used will barely scratch the surface for those who suffer from severe and frequent migraines or target the physical process that occurs when a migraine is either present or about to occur. There is also no true way to stop migraines from occurring, only migraine medications for prevention and making the symptoms more tolerable for those who suffer from them on a frequent basis. You will want to speak to your doctor to learn more about specific medications to ensure they are right for you.
Over-the-Counter Migraine Medications
The market is loaded with over-the-counter migraine medications to help those who suffer from both frequent and moderate migraines. However, for there is nothing strong enough over the counter for those who suffer severe migraines as they may require prescription medications to not only alleviate the symptoms but also for prevention medications. A few of the medications available for migraines over the counter include analgesics such as acetaminophen otherwise known as Tylenol and anti-inflammatories such as naproxen or ibuprofen known to be ingredients in Advil and Motrin, and aspirin. These will assist with the pain and may help with the dilation of the blood vessels, however, they will not help with prevention and only the pain symptoms. Other medications that are offered over the counter are NSAIDs, as well as caffeine which you can also find as ingredients in many migraine specific medications.
When looking for a migraine medication over the counter, simply walk down the aisle in your local store or pharmacy area and look for medications that are marked for migraines. You may even want to consider asking your pharmacist for a recommendation as they are extremely familiar with the medications that may assist you the best in reducing the pain and can recommend the appropriate dosage. Pharmacists work with medications every day and in some cases, even create their own blends of medications making them more than qualified to properly assist you. Many pharmacists will even recommend a variety of over-the-counter medications that you can take to ensure that many of your symptoms are taken care of as well.
It is highly recommended that you see your doctor in the case of a migraine that does not become relieved with over the counter medications or in many severe cases. The medications that your doctor may prescribe you for your migraines may include NSAIDs and narcotics, although they will only assist with the pain. Other possible medications include ergot alkaloids, anti-nausea, antihistamines, triptans, ergotamines, and even antidepressant medications. A few examples of the triptans you may be prescribed include Almotriptan, Frovatriptan, Sumatriptan, and Zolmitriptan. Each of these may help with the dilation of the blood vessels, as well as interrupt the migraine before it comes on. However, this is only scratching the surface of the medications that you may be prescribed for your migraines as the list of medications for migraines that your doctor may prescribe you is a very long one that includes so many more medications than you can imagine.
A few of the other medication types that your doctor may recommend trying include beta-blockers such as propranolol, calcium channel blockers like Nimodipin, Tricyclic antidepressants, antiseizure medications, as well as many other antidepressant medications. Some doctors may even suggest that you try herbal remedies like feverfew and butterbur, as well as provide you with thorough instructions on how to both use and prepare these herbs for use to avoid side effects. Your doctor will discuss the appropriate dosage and possible side effects with you when you receive the prescription to ensure that you understand the kind of medication that you are taking and the risks that may come with it. Please be sure to ask your doctor all the questions you have about the medications that you are prescribed and ensure to call them even after your appointment if any questions happen to come up while you are taking your prescriptions.
While there are so many medications that are used to both treat and prevent migraines, some of the best medications for migraines are actually said to be the prescriptions that you can get from your doctor as the dosage and combination of the meds are completely tailored to you rather than a generic mix of ingredients. Many people prefer to take the Triptans which not only block the pain pathways within the brain but also promote the constriction of the blood vessels that dilate to cause the migraine in the first place. Other people prefer to use a combination of Triptans and Antidepressants as the combination not only helps in the prevention through the antidepressant but the pain fighting properties of the triptans allows them to lead normal lives even with the migraine.
When you discuss the medications that you should be taking for your migraines with your doctor, ensure that you are discussing all of the possibilities, as well as the possible causes of your migraines to get the medications that are right for you. Other things you should consider before visiting your doctor about your migraines is to create a journal of your migraines to not only track the frequency and level of pain but also the symptoms that are present in each attack and the length of time in which each migraine lasts. Since migraines can be complex in their pattern of occurrence, cause, and even the severity, you will want to work with your doctor each step of the way to ensure that you are being properly treated.
Doing It Alone
There are many risks of self-medicating when you have severe migraines that can lead to other bodily harm such as abdominal problems caused by excessive NSAID use, overdose, serotonin syndrome, chronic migraines, and so much more. The reason that visiting your doctor is so very important when you have frequent or persistent migraines is that they could be a symptom of something far greater than the migraine itself such as a bleed within your brain or possibility of a stroke. There are numerous possibilities that can provide your doctor with more than enough information to ensure that your migraines aren’t connected to another physical problem or an environmental problem. Since every person is different and no two cases of migraines are exactly the same, it is best to discuss all possibilities with your doctor to be sure that your migraines are not connected to a larger issue. If you choose to medicate using over-the-counter solutions to your migraines, be sure that you take note of your medications and the dosage, as well as the time that you took your medication to ensure you are not over dosing. If your migraine lasts longer than 3 days, you should make an appointment, and if it lasts longer than 6 days, you should consider having a friend or family member drive you to the appointment as the migraine can make it unsafe for you to drive yourself and they can assist in taking notes for you during your appointment.
Migraines are extremely serious and can even feel as though they are ruining your life each time you have an attack. For many people who suffer from extreme migraines, their lives are put to the test each and every day due to the severity of the pain and the frequency at which they occur. There are many people out there who have repeatedly lost their jobs and end up stuck in bed for days due to these neurological problems. While many people understand the risks and the dangers of having migraines, many people do not or cannot fathom the levels of pain that those who suffer from them have to feel on a daily basis. Ensuring that you work with a doctor about the most severe cases is the best course of action to properly treat and prevent your migraines from occurring and to work on finding the perfect combination of medications for you.