Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there a prescription drug available for migraine headaches?"
I get migraine headaches and usually just take over the counter pain medication. I haven't had insurance in years but got a new job that gives me benefits. Is there a prescription drug I can take for my migraines that would do better than over the counter medication?
Migraines are specific types of headaches and are much more common in women. They also have other associated symptoms in addition to the headache such as nausea, increased sensitivity to light and sound, etc. There are many over the counter pills that can be taken to help control the symptoms of migraines. However there are dangers to taking too much of a given over the counter medication for a prolonged time. For example, taking too much tylenol can cause liver damage, whereas taking too much NSAIDs (such as Ibuprofen/Motrin/Advil/Alleve, etc) can lead to stomach ulcers, which can in turn bleed. There are prescription medications that can help control migraines. The most common class of medications is the triptans (e.g. Imitrex). These medications do not prevent, or cure migraines, but are effective at controlling the symptoms of migraines (e.g. headache relief) when a migraine attack occurs. They work by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain, subsequently causing vasoconstriction of the blood vessels and limiting the inflammatory response that occurs with migraine attacks. I highly recommend you speak to your neurologist about your migraines. Your neurologist will be able to work up the problem and devise a plan to identify and avoid certain triggers that may be causing your migraines. He or she will also be able to provide a prescription to control your migraine symptoms.
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