Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there prescription drugs available that help with migraine headaches?"
I have migraine headaches from time to time but as I have gotten older they are becoming more frequent. Should I consider a prescription drug to help? Are there prescription drugs that are used to treat migraines? I usually just use a store bought brand.
Migraines are headaches which can be severe and are sometimes associated with visual disturbances. Migraines come in many different forms, but headache is still the most common presentation. Migraines can be treated with over the counter medications and behavior modification -- such as avoiding triggers which can be identified by you (if they're obvious), or with the help of your physician. If behavior modification and over the counter medications are no longer sufficient to control your headaches, there are prescription medication options that are available. The most common of these are the triptan family of medication (for example: Sumatriptan). These generally work by binding to receptors on blood vessels in the brain causing them to constrict and decrease inflammation which thereby leads to decreased pain. I recommend consulting with your primary care physician or a neurologist specializing in headaches in order to establish your diagnosis of migraines and perhaps more importantly, rule out another occult cause for your headaches, especially if they're becoming more frequent. Once the diagnosis of migraine is made, you can discuss prescription medication options. Many people do very well with triptans and have very good results. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have any allergies to medications (such as sulfa allergies, for example), to ensure that you don't have any adverse reactions to your prescription medication.
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