What Are The Preventative and Abortive Medications for Migraines?

Migraines are hard to deal with, and unfortunately, finding medication that works best for you can be just as complicated. Prescribing for migraines is not an exact science since there are well over 30 different medications, many of them re-purposed from other chronic conditions. Unfortunately, there is a real lack of migraine specific medication. That’s why I go to an event every year called Headache on the Hill with several headache disorder related organizations; we lobby congress and the senators from our states to pay more attention to headache disorder research. We’ve had great results in the past and, if you can, I encourage you to go this year to support the cause. I recommend checking out the ClusterBusters for Cluster Headache and the American Headache and Migraine Association (AHMA) for Migraineurs. Without further-ado here is your list of migraine preventatives:

Timolol (Blocadren, Betimol)
Calcium Channel Blockers
Diltiazem (Cardizem LA)
Nimodipine (Nimotop)
Verapamil (Isoptin, Calan)
Tricyclic Antidepressants
Amitriptyline (Elavil)
Nortriptyline (Nortriptyline Hydrochloride, Nortriptyline Hydrochloride Oral Solution, Pamelor)
Other Antidepressants
Paroxetine (Paxil)
Fluoxetine (Prozac)
Sertraline (Zoloft)
Antiseizure Medications
Topiramate (Topamax)
Gabapentin (Neurontin)
Divalproex sodium (Depakote)

Those listed above are just the more popular preventative medications. Other treatment options include diet changes, vitamin regimens, and lifestyle changes. Migraines can radically change your life and the onset isn’t always at a convenient time. In a situation where you cannot afford to stay home due to a migraine you should consider using an abortive medication as opposed to the preventive ones mentioned above. You likely want a triptan, which are a family of tryptamine-based drugs used as abortive medication in the treatment of migraines and cluster headaches. From my experience the one that has always worked best is Sumatriptan also known as Imitrex. Here’s a list of the triptans meant for the relief from of a migraine attack. They should be taken as soon as possible to increase the effectiveness. Sumatriptan can feel much like you’re having a heart attack so make sure to speak with your doctor about correct dosage before starting. Maxalt, Frova, Imitrex, Relpax, and Zomig are among the most popularly prescribed.

Almotriptan (Axert)
Eletriptan (Relpax)
Frovatriptan (Frova)
Naratriptan (Amerge)
Rizatriptan (Maxalt)
Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
Zolmitriptan (Zomig)

Untreated migraines can be deadly. People have even gone as far as committing suicide due to years of unrelenting pain. Although if you or someone you know experiences chronic migraines there is hope. I have been living and managing my own migraines for nearly 10 years. I have been able to use the tools and medications available to make it a manageable condition. I hope the lists provided about the preventative and abortive medications for migraines help set the groundwork for a conversation with your doctor. Please feel free to get in touch with me on my blog for more information on the subject.


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