Migraine headaches are a debilitating condition that is described as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Some people unfortunately experience pain over their entire head as well. There are many different treatments available for migraine relief. In terms of prescription and over the counter medication, there are two categories of drugs available for the acute treatment of migraines. Acute treatment is the term for medication generally used to stop the progression of a migraine or stop it altogether. For the best results, it is recommended you take the medication as soon as possible once you feel a migraine attack coming on. The types are drugs currently available are: analgesics, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and triptans.
The first type of drug available is analgesics, a painkiller that lessens one’s perception of a migraine attack. In effect, it works to numb the area experiencing the pain. Many of these options are available without a prescription. The most well-known analgesic is aspirin. Aspirin is typically the first painkiller that most people use to find relief with migraines. It is believed that its anti-inflammatory effects may help certain aspects of a migraine. Another common painkiller without the anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin is Paracetamol. Combination analgesics are also available and refer to two drugs that have been combined for more effective results.
One combination frequently used for the treatment of migraines is codeine and caffeine. Anti-nausea drugs have shown promise in treating migraines as well when combined with painkillers.
Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)
Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs are typically used for severe migraine attacks. It’s anti-inflammatory properties have been effective at providing relief for painful migraines. The more popular brands of NSAIDS are nurofen, difene, and Naprosyn.
It should be noted that taking any type of medication incorrectly is dangerous. You should never simply increase the dosage if you have not experienced relief initially. Doing so can be potentially dangerous as well as cause a rebound headache and stomach irritation.
For migraine sufferers, taking the above medications in a solution form provides the quickest relief. This is because many people with migraines also experience symptoms involving an upset stomach.
Triptans are medications designed primarily for migraines. They originated in Ireland during the 1990’s and are available only through a prescription. Triptans are effective because they target certain areas in the brain that are thought to cause migraines. These receptors have been known to cause migraines. When taken at the first sign of a migraine, triptans can reduce or eliminate the migraine pain within a few hours in 80% of people. One negative is that people have reported migraine symptoms returning shortly after taking a triptan.
Triptans come in multiple forms, including a standard tablet, dissolving tablet and nasal spray. The nasal spray and dissolving tablet have been known to bring relief faster than the standard tablet, especially in people suffering from nausea as well.
Triptans are not advisable for children, women who are pregnant or individuals who have a history of cardiovascular disease. Brands of triptans include Almotriptan, Frovatriptan, Sumatriptan, Eletriptan, Zolmitriptan and Naratriptan.