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Can vomiting interfere with treatment?

Expert:   Lawrence C. Newman, MD, Director, The Headache Institute, Roosevelt Hospital Center »

Treating a headache with pills is pretty difficult when you're throwing the pills back up. Blech. Thankfully, you have a few non-oral treatment options. Find out what they are.

Transcript: As if the pulsing, pounding headache pain weren’t enough, about 75 PERCENT of people with migraine also experience nausea and vomiting. And the vomiting sometimes PREVENTS successful treatment by bringing migraine-relief medicines right back up again. Fortunately, triptans, the first prescription medication designed specifically to treat migraine, often quell the nausea as well as the pain. If they DON’T, to get around your gastrointestinal problems, you can take the medication as an injection or as a nasal spray. But if you are STILL nauseated or if you take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or pain relievers such as acetaminophen, you will want something to treat your upset stomach. Your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea meds, such as chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine, and metoclopramide and odansetron. After these meds resolve your nausea and VOMITING, you can take medicine to ease your HEADACHE. Your choices include triptans, as I mentioned before, delivered via a pill, DISOLVABLE WAFER, injection or nasal spray. And over-the-counter analgesics, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen sodium. If your migraines don’t respond to these treatments, you might also head to your doctor’s office to receive a corticosteroid injection. Patients with status migrainosus—a condition in which a migraine lasts 4 or more days—sometimes end up receiving this treatment in the hospital. More »

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