Migraine Medications

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While there are effective pain-relieving drugs to take when you’re in the midst of a migraine attack, the best use of migraine medications is preventative. It’s better not to get a debilitating migraine headache than it is to have to fight it. Dr. Amr Hosny at the Advanced Headache Center in Midtown Manhattan and Bergen County, New Jersey, relies on rational polypharmacy, a careful combination of migraine medications for safe, effective treatment. Call today for a consultation to discover which migraine medications are right for you.

What’s the Function of Migraine Medications?

Migraines can bring your life to a full stop because of the throbbing pain and accompanying symptoms — such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sounds. Migraine medications are among the first treatment options people try when suffering from debilitating headaches. This migraine treatment works across the migraine stages to offer relief and help you get back to your normal routines. There are three types of migraine medications:

  • Preventive medications
  • Abortive medications
  • Rescue medications

Some people take over-the-counter migraine medications as part of home remedies for headaches. You may need prescription-strength drugs or a combination of medications under medical supervision for safe, effective treatment. At the Advanced Headache Center, with eight offices in New York City and Bergen County, New Jersey, Dr. Amr Hosny prescribes migraine medications only after a thorough review of your symptoms.

Migraine Medications

Which Medications Prevent Migraines?

Preventive migraine medications keep your migraines from striking. These medications also reduce the number of episodes you experience every month and lower the severity of the headaches when they do happen. This treatment gives you more control over your life. Preventive migraine medications include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Over-the-counter NSAIDs relieve your pain, especially when you take them early in the migraine attack stage.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These medications regulate the levels of serotonin and other chemicals in your brain to counter the pain.
  • Beta-blockers. These drugs lower the impact of stress hormones on your heart and blood vessels.
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) These migraine medications block the CGRP pathway important for migraines, preventing an attack.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) Antidepressants can actually prevent migraine attacks, especially in those with co-morbid depression and recurrent headaches.
  • These drugs prevent seizures by relaxing the overactive nerves in your brain.
  • Calcium channel blockers. These drugs keep calcium out of your heart cells, lower your blood pressure, and reduce the risk of migraines.

The pain specialists at the top headache center in New Jersey and New York only prescribe these migraine medications after making an accurate diagnosis. They assess your type of migraine, try to determine the cause of your migraines and their triggers. Preventative migraine medications may be part of the best treatment plan for you.

Which Medications Can Stop Migraine Pain?

The most debilitating stage of a migraine is the attack. That’s when you feel the throbbing pain, making it difficult to do anything else. With effective abortive medications for migraines, you can stop the migraine attack or reduce the severity of the pain.

These medications are most effective when taken before the actual attack. Fortunately, migraine headaches often pass through stages, which you can learn to recognize, allowing you to take these abortive migraine medications. The most effective medications for dealing with pain include.

  • Over-the-counter drugs. Some common painkillers that deal with ordinary headaches include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin.
  • A class of tryptamine-based medication, these drugs are used to treat migraines and cluster headaches. The medications stimulate the brain’s chemical serotonin to quiet down overactive pain nerves.
  • These drugs with caffeine treat severe, throbbing migraine headaches by preventing blood vessels in your head from expanding.
  • A combination of triptan and NSAIDs. This combination improves oral absorption and leads to better pain control than triptans alone. Together, these medications block pain by soothing the nerves and blood vessels involved in a migraine attack.
  • CGRP antagonists. This medication helps with both episodic and chronic migraine attacks by preventing blood vessels in your brain from dilating.
  • These are migraine abortive drugs taken orally at the onset of a migraine attack. They affect the receptors involved in the transmission of pain signals.

How Does Rescue Migraine Medication Help?

Dr. Hosny recommends rescue medication for migraines during the course of a migraine attack. Rescue medications provide relief from pain and other migraine symptoms, such as nausea. These drugs include:

  • Antiemetic medications. These drugs specifically provide nausea relief.
  • Muscle relaxants. This class of medications relieves pain during a migraine attack.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). These over-the-counter drugs relieve pain.
  • Butalbital compounds. These medications blend aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine to combat severe headaches and early-stage migraine attacks.

Before you take any migraine medications, consult your doctor for a review of your medical history. Some drugs, like NSAIDs, have side effects that Dr. Hosny can alert you about. Plus, to be totally safe when you combine medications, you need to be under a doctor’s supervision.

Your pain management specialist develops an individualized treatment plan for you, which may include taking migraine medications along with other treatments in a multimodal approach that may include:

When you’re ready to try effective migraine medications, contact the Advanced Headache Center at the nearest location to you.

Updated on Mar 26, 2024 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

Amr Hosny, MD, MBA, AQH

Dr. Hosny is an Ivy League Trained, UCNS-accredited, board-certified headache specialist who offers the latest preventive and abortive treatments to provide safe and effective head pain relief. As an active member of prominent organizations and professional societies that advance headache science, education, and management, such as the National Headache Foundation, Dr. Hosney specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of head pain disorders, including tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches, to name a few.

Dr. Hosny's reputation for enhancing headache care quality through the use of the most effective and technologically advanced treatment options for persistent primary and secondary chronic headaches has been acknowledged by Castle Connolly and Healthgrades, where he has received over 200 positive reviews. Dr. Hosny is also recognized as a distinguished New York City physician and headache specialist by New York Magazine.

More about Dr. Hosny
Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 763-2222