Headache Relief

Know about Available Medications for Headache and Migraine

Medications for headaches and migraines are of different types. While most of them are prescription drugs, some of them are available over the counter and can be effectively used to treat mild headaches and migraines. Following is a detailed description of medications available for treating migraine.

1. Triptans

Triptans were the first drugs developed specifically for the purpose of treating migraine. Hence, they are the most widely available migraine drugs available in the market. They work by regulating the level of serotonin inside the brain.

Triptans are considered to more effective than NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Hence, they are primary recommendation for those who have moderate to severe migraines. User feedback too has shown that they provide much quicker relief than NSAIDs. Following are the benefits derived by those who took Triptans:

* Triptans are good for those who suffer from a combination of tension and migraine headaches.
* Quite unlike other migraine drugs, Triptans do not have any sedative effect.
* They are effective for most patients.
* Triptans can be, at times, effective in preventing menstrual migraines.
* Their withdrawal after overuse is usually of a shorter duration. Its severity in comparison to other migraine medications is also very less.

Sumatriptan (also known as Imitrex) is the most well known triptan that has been used so far.

2. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
If the migraine to be treated is mild to moderate in intensity then NonSteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) can be taken to treat it. They can provide the following benefits.

* NSAIDs which are available without prescription include Acetaminophen, Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These drugs are best if the migraine to be treated is of a lesser intensity. User trials suggested that amongst all the four, Naproxen was more effective in treating migraine. However, in the case of migraine in children, acetaminophen was found to provide much quicker relief. However, its effect reduced after 3 hours. Only ibuprofen was still effective after 3 hours of taking the medication.
* Another type of NSAIDs which are effective in treating severe and persistent migraines are those which can be injected. In fact, they were found to be more powerful than opioid or triptan medications. Studies have shown that the intravenous ketorolac gave more relief than nasally administered sumatriptan (Imitrex) as well as other opioid drugs.
* If an individual gets nausea after taking migraine medication, then they can opt for an NSAID combination of diclofenac-potassium. This combination not only helps reduce nausea but is also faster than sumatriptan (Imitrex). However, it is not meant for people who are at risk of bleeding or have an allergy to aspirin.

3. Over the counter medication for Headaches and Migraines
Some of the over-the-counter drugs available for treating migraine include Excedrin Migraine, Motrin Migraine Pain and Advil Migraine. Excedrin Migraine is a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine whereas Motrin and Advil contain ibuprofen. Excedrin was the first migraine medication to be given FDA approval. User trials indicated that it was able to provide relief to almost 70 per cent of the individuals who had taken the medication.

4. Cox-2 Inhibitors
This is a class of prescription drugs which produce the same results as that of NSAIDs. However, their consumption does not interfere with the digestive system of the body. Despite their effectiveness, some of these drugs have been withdrawn from the US market. The reason to do so is the heart attack and stroke risk that it poses to people using it. The only Cox-2 inhibitor drug available in the market is Celecoxib.

Apart from these four types of drugs, people suffering from migraine are also prescribed Ergotamine-based drugs, Lidocaine-based drugs, and opiods.