Migraine relief medications are an important part of migraine treatment and migraine management. A tension headache is one of the most common migraine symptoms. Migraine headaches last from 4 to 72 hours. They range from moderately painful to excruciating and debilitating.
If the migraine headache is moderate, you can get some migraine relief by resting in a darkened room. If the migraine headache is severe, however, resting may be difficult without some migraine relief medication.
There are different types of migraine relief medications in the market. Some are available over the counter, while some may be obtained only through a prescription. Some migraine relief medications are effective against both migraine and tension headaches, while some are especially formulated to treat only migraine headaches.
One thing should be made clear before we proceed to a discussion of the different migraine relief medications. There is a type of migraine, ocular migraine to be specific, that may or may not be accompanied by a headache.
Ocular migraine causes visual symptoms. During an ocular migraine episode, one develops a blind spot with flickering lights or lines. The visual symptoms of ocular migraines are disturbing, but they are often painless.
Typically, ocular migraines last from a few minutes to half an hour. During an episode, you should simply rest and let your visual symptoms pass. You don’t need to take any migraine relief medication.
Consult your doctor, however, if you have chronic ocular migraines or if headaches are a symptom of your ocular migraine. Chronic and painful ocular migraines have to be properly diagnosed and treated.
Migraine Headache Medications
There is currently no cure for migraines. Experts have varying theories about migraine causes so they have differing opinions about migraine treatment as well. According to the vascular theory, a migraine headache is caused by the dilation or expansion of blood vessels in the brain.
The dilation of the blood vessels causes fluid from within the blood vessels to permeate the blood vessel walls. This leakage causes pain as well as inflammation in the surrounding tissues.
Since migraine has no clear cause and treatment, most migraine relief medications are symptomatic. They do not cure migraine but they treat migraine headache symptoms. Migraine headache medications generally fall under one or more of three types: simple analgesics or painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and serotonin agonists.
You can try the following medicine the next time you have a migraine. For the greatest effect, take your migraine relief medication at the first sign of a headache. Follow the instructions found on the label of any over-the-counter medication. Never ignore contraindication information and dosage instructions.Paracetamol
is an over-the-counter pain reliever (analgesic) and fever reducer (antipyretic). It is effective against migraine headaches and tension headaches alike. Like most painkillers, however, paracetamol should be taken at the onset of the headache. It is not as effective when taken after the headache has become worse.
Examples of paracetamol brands include Tylenol, Datril and Panadol. You should take only up to 1,000 mg of paracetamol per dose. Do not take more than 4,000 mg of paracetamol in a day. Paracetamol overdose causes liver damage.
This is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter painkillers in the world. Aspirin is a pain reliever (analgesic), a fever reducer (antipyretic) and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is very effective especially if taken immediately after the onset of the migraine headache.
Do not take aspirin if you have a history of peptic ulcer and other gastrointestinal problems. Aspirin causes gastrointestinal bleeding. Children under 16 should also not take aspirin. Studies show that aspirin causes acute encephalopathy and fatty liver in children.
Ibuprofen is a painkiller (analgesic) and an anti-inflammatory (non-steroidal) drug. Advil and Motrin are examples of ibuprofen medications. Ibuprofen is available over-the-counter in 100-400 mg forms. Ibuprofen medication in higher dosage is also available through prescription.
You should limit your intake from 800 mg up to 1,200 mg of total ibuprofen in one day. There should also be an interval of 4 to 6 hours between each ibuprofen administration.
Naproxen sodium is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with pain relieving (analgesic) and fever reducing (antipyretic) effects. Aleve is a naproxen sodium medication available over the counter. Do not take naproxen sodium with aspirin as they tend to reduce each other’s effectiveness. You should also not take naproxen sodium if you have sodium-triggered hypertension.
Pregnant women should refrain from taking naproxen sodium to relieve migraine headaches. Naproxen is associated with congenital birth defects.
Sumatriptan is structurally the same as serotonin. Sumatriptan activates specific serotonin receptors in the brain’s blood vessels. When these serotonin receptors are activated, the blood vessels constrict and the migraine headache stops in result.
Sumatriptan is available in various forms. There are sumatriptan tablets, inhalers and injectible solutions. Sumatriptan is even more effective when combined with an anti-inflammatory drug like naproxen. Treximet is an example of a migraine medication that contains both sumatriptan and naproxen sodium. Sumatriptan in all its forms and combinations is a prescription drug.
Conclusion on Migraine Relief Medications
Always practice caution and moderation when taking migraine relief medications. If your migraine attacks are getting more frequent and more intense, consult your doctor. Chronic and frequent migraines may be rooted in serious health problems.
Migraine treatment in this case calls for more than just the administration of migraine headache medications. Frequent intake of migraine medications is never advised. All of the migraine relief medications discussed above have side effects and lead to toxicity when abused.
Always consult with your doctor or a certified professional trainer before undertaking any exercises, treatments, or dietary supplements.