Migraine Pain Relief: Underused Treatments and Medications
A lot of people suffer from migraines, but only a few of them see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatments. More often than not, migraine headache sufferers stock up on over-the-counter pain relievers just in case they suffer a migraine attack, but there are other medications patients can take, but can only be obtained with a prescription from a doctor.
Aside from the common OTC pain medications like ibuprofen, naproxen and naproxen sodium, fenoprofen, kenoprofen, and other forms of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), there are also other drugs that have been proven to prevent migraine attacks or lessen their intensity and duration. Here are some of the drugs doctors can prescribe to help reduce the occurrence or intensity of your migraine headaches:
- Divalproex sodium – Sold in the US under the brand name Depakote, divalproex sodium is a drug which is commonly used to control particular types of seizures experienced by patients with epilepsy. It can also be used to treat patients with bipolar disorder when they are in the manic phase. Studies have shown that this particular anti-seizure drug is effective in treating and preventing migraines as well.
- Sodium valproate – Like divalproex sodium, sodium valproate is also an anti-seizure medication that works well to prevent and treat migraines. More commonly known under the brand name Depacon in the US, this drug is only available in the form of an intravenous solution which is administered using a syringe.
- Topiramate – This drug is more commonly known as Topiragen or Topamax and is also used to treat specific types of seizures caused by epilepsy. Just like the other anti-seizure drugs, topiramate can also be prescribed to prevent or treat migraine episodes.
- Metoprolol – This beta-blocker is primarily used to treat patients with hypertension (high blood pressure). Studies have shown that metoprolor, also known under the brand name Lopressor and Toprol XL, is also effective in reducing the occurrence of headaches in migraine patients.
- Propranolol – Known by hypertension patients by the brand names Inderal or InnoPran XL, propranolol is a beta blocker that helps lower blood pressure, relieve chest pain and treat the pain caused by migraine headache episodes.
- Timolol – Another beta-blocker, timolol comes in two forms. The oral/tablet form is used to treat high blood pressure and is also effective in treating migraine headaches while the ophthalmic solution is used to treat eye pressure caused by ocular hypertension.
Many people think that they can manage their migraines by self-medicating. If a patient experiences migraines often enough to be considered a chronic condition, then over-the-counter pain killers may do more harm than good in the long run. A doctor can examine you carefully and make sure that you have not been misdiagnosed. When doctors are sure that the headaches are caused by migraines, a treatment plan can be developed. To be sure that you are informed of all your treatment options and to learn more about migraine prevention, it’s always best to seek the help of a headache specialist.