Migraine Prevention

Migraine Medications

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take medications in order to stop migraines from occurring. Often, medications are recommended when a person has:
  • Migraines more than two days per week (or eight days per month)
  • Uncommon migraine symptoms, including hemiplegic migraines or migraines with prolonged aura.
A person may also be prescribed medicine to prevent migraines when medicines used to treat them are:
  • Not effective at treating migraine symptoms
  • Not recommended because of other health reasons
  • Being used more than two times per week.
Your healthcare provider may recommend one of several medications available. Before making a recommendation, he or she will consider your particular situation, including other medical conditions you may have, previous medicines that you have tried, and your individual needs.
Some examples of medications used to prevent migraines include:
If your healthcare provider has prescribed medications for you, take them exactly as prescribed. Ask what you should do if you miss a dose and how long you should take the medicine.
To avoid long-term side effects of preventive medications, headache specialists advise patients to reduce the dosage of these drugs and then stop taking them as soon as possible. Keep in mind, however, that it may take two to three months before you notice a decrease in the frequency or severity of attacks, and treatment may be required for 6 to 12 months or longer.
In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other antidepressants to help prevent migraines. These medications can be helpful when a person with migraines also has anxiety or depression. Some examples of these types of migraine prevention medications include:
Talk with your healthcare provider if the amount of medicine you are prescribed is not helping your headaches.
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