For those who have been officially diagnosed with migraine and are receiving medical treatment two types of medication are typically prescribed. For less frequent migraines abortive medication might be used to stop the headache in it’s tracks. For those who suffer with frequent migraines then a preventative medication – often referred to as a prophylactic – might be prescribed. If you use medication for your migraines then you most likely are aware of the benefits and the drawbacks. They can be very expensive and, if overused, like anything, other problems can ensue like heightened sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia). Even worse you could suffer more migraines from consuming too many pain relieving medications. Then neurologists have even more difficulty diagnosing chronic migraine.. Which leads me nicely to a topic for another post in the next few weeks which will outline the difference between episodic migraine and chronic migraine!
In the interim, if you suffer frquently with migraine it is probably worth doing your own research on prophylactic medication. Forwarned is forarmed is the idiom which springs to mind! On that very topic, the array of drugs typically prescribed for other diseases but which double up as migraine medication is interesting… choose from Anti-epileptic drugs such as Topiramate, Betablockers such as Propanolol , Triptans such as Frovatriptan or even anti-depressants such as Amitriptyline.. And these are just the Level A box which have been approved by the FDA as having established efficacy. Beta Blockers seem to relax the blood vessels but no one knows how they help with migraines. Neither is it known how anti-epleptic drugs work to prevent migraines. Tricyclic antidepressants are believed to be effective because they affect neurotransmitters in the brain and neurotransmitters are involved in migraines. Other drugs which are categorised as ‘possibly’ helping with the prevention of migraines include Antihistamines such as Cyproheptadine and ACE inhibitors such as Lisinopril.. (Silberstein, Holland, Freitag, Dodick, Argoff & Ashman, 2012). Am I the only one who is dizzy reading this list?
To be fair, the physiological causes of migraine are what these drugs are trying to address and since no one really knows with absolute certainty what the physiological cause(s) of migraine are it could be a bit like aiming at the dartboard, hoping to hit the bullseye but occasionally hitting a treble twenty and frequently hitting the rest of the board..