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Headache Care

Migraines: Top 5 Drugs That Work

Thursday, Feb 10 2011


There are several drugs available for treating migraines, however, only some of the specific migraine drugs have been approved by US FDA. Amongst these drugs are both non-prescription and prescription migraine drugs. Most migraine drugs that are available approved only for treatment and use in adults.
The top five drugs that work for migraine attacks are:

1. Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter painkillers are the most important part of migraine treatment. These are also referred to as analgesics. Some of the examples include Ibuprofen, common brand names being Advil and Motrin; Naproxen, common brand name Aleve. Another commonly used migraine drug in this category is Acetaminophen (Tylenol).

One of the acetaminophen containing brands that has been approved by the FDA is Excedrin. Some of the prescription drugs in this category include brands of diclofenac.

2. Triptans: The other categories of drugs that have been generally used in migraine treatment are serotonin agonists or Triptans. The mechanism through which these drugs act on migraines is by ensuring to maintain the levels of serotonin in the brain. These drugs have been recommended as a first line therapy for the treatment of migraines and are used when commonly available analgesics are not effective. One of the most well-known drugs in this category is Sumatriptan. However, newer drugs have also been recognized in this category such as almotriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan, and eletriptan. Most triptans have been recommended for usage only in adults. However, one of the triptans that is being rigorously studied in adoloscents is zolmitriptan.

3. Ergotamine: Ergots are the drugs containing ergotamine and they have also been found to play a role in migraine treatment. Some of the ergot preparations that are available include Dihydroergotamine, brand name Migranal.

4. Opioids: This category of drugs has been especially recommended in severe cases of migraine. Some of the examples of common opioids include morphine, codeine, and oxycodone. These are generally not recommended to be used in Migraine as first line therapy. Their use is recommended only in severe cases and under strict supervision of a medical practitioner.

5. Drugs used for Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea and vomiting are commonly associated symptoms with Migraine episodes. Therefore along with pain killers some drugs are specifically prescribed to manage nausea and vomiting. Examples of such drugs include Metoclopramide and Domperidone.


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