Video Q & A:

Treatment

Question:

What drugs treat migraine?

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

It's completely possible to have a productive and pleasurable lifestyle while dealing with migraines -- but the first step is to learn about your medication choices. Watch this!

Transcript: Here’s a short course on your medication options for handling a migraine once it hits: First let’s look at the Over-The-Counter Solutions. If you have sporadic migraines with mild to MODERATE pain, an NSAID, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug may ease your pain. Ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen sodium are the MOST common NSAIDs. The most popular BRANDS of NSAIDs are Advil, Motrin, Bayer, and Aleve. Tylenol is a pain reliever, but not an anti-inflammatory. Its main benefit? It’s active ingredient, acetaminophen, is SAFE for pregnant women and for those with certain health conditions. There are also over-the-counter medications the FDA has SPECIFICALLY approved for use against migraine—Advil Migraine with ibuprofen, and Excedrin Migraine with acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine. If those don’t work, there are effective prescription alternatives: TRIPTANS were the FIRST drugs SPECIFICALLY created to fight migraine headaches. They stop the migraine by getting to its source, binding to serotonin receptors in the brain. There are seven triptans—almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, zolmitriptan and SUMATRIPTAN, the oldest of all the triptans. Some triptans are administered through injections, while others come as a pill, an orally dissolving wafer or a nasal spray. Like over-the-counter painkillers, triptans should NOT be overused. They may cause REBOUND headaches. If you’re taking them more than twice a week, it might be time to talk to your doctor about PREVENTIVE migraine treatments. More »

Can't Find an Answer? Send us your question »