Migraine (cont.)

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What is the treatment for migraines?

The treatment for migraines depends upon on how frequently the headaches occur and how long the headaches last.

Migraine medications

The treatment of an acute migraine headache may vary from over-the-counter medicines (OTC), like acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) to prescription medications.


  • Triptans (sumatriptan, rizatriptan, eletriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, almotriptan, and frovatriptan), may be extremely effective in treating migraines and may be prescribed to help the patient treat their migraine at home.
  • Not every patient can take these medications, and there are specific limitations regarding how often these medications can be used.
  • Other medication regimens may also be used to control migraine headache.
  • Some medications are appropriate for home use and others require a visit to the health-care professional's office or emergency department.


Narcotic pain medications are not necessarily appropriate for the treatment of migraine headaches and are associated with the phenomenon of rebound headache, where the headache returns -- sometimes more intensely -- when the narcotics wear off. In all cases of migraine, the use of acute pain therapies must be watched closely so that a patient does not develop medication overuse headache.

Other medications

If an individual experiences frequent headaches, or if the headaches routinely last for several days, then preventive medications may be indicated. These may be prescribed on a daily basis in an effort to decrease the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine headaches. There are many different medications which have been shown to be effective in this role, including:

The specific medication which is selected for a patient is dependent on many other factors, including age, sex, blood pressure, and other pre-existing medical conditions.

Some patients who experience more than 15 headache days every month might benefit from Botox injections.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015

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