The worst part of a migraine attack is the agonizing pain. Pain relief is foremost on your mind, so get your medication questions answered by our expert, Dr. Newman.
Transcript: When migraine pain strikes, one way to ease the discomfort is to take what we call a non-specific medication, such as an over-the-counter analgesic—or pain reliever. There are many types. The most common may be acetaminophen—that’s what’s in Tylenol. It’s particularly helpful to pregnant women who get migraine, since it’s the only over-the-counter analgesic that they can safely take. The drawback? Acetaminophen works on pain but does not reduce inflammation, which is a major cause of the agony associated with migraine. There ARE over-the-counter analgesics that reduce inflammation. These are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and they include aspirin AND ibuprofen and naproxen—which are found in brands such as Advil and Aleve. When these simple analgesics aren’t enough to beat an INTENSE migraine headache, there are FDA approved over-the-counter options: Excedrin Migraine. It contains acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine. And Advil Migraine that contains ibuprofen. If NONE of those reduce your headache pain, you can head to your doctor for a PRESCRIPTION anti-inflammatory. In general, pain killers that contain narcotics or butalbitol are not recommended to treat migraine. A couple of TIPS when using analgesics: Whatever you use, don’t wait to take an analgesic until your headache is severe! They are fastest acting if taken at the first sign of a migraine. BE CAREFUL to not take analgesics more than 8 days per month, because that may trigger REBOUND headaches. NSAIDs can cause gastric inflammation, so be wary if you’re prone to gastrointestinal problems. If they don’t do the trick, ask your doctor about prescription medications designed specifically to treat migraine. More »