You know it very well, intense episodes of a migraine headache are difficult to withstand. It feels like the head is about to explode. It is indeed a problem that has not yet been successfully treated. However, there are several medications approved by FDA to treat migraines. A large number of these medicines are preventive in nature. Preventive Antimigraine Therapy is an important treatment option for migraine sufferers, who cannot be given vasoconstrictors or any other acute treatment.
Such therapy is resorted to when migraine attacks occur more than once a week and each episode lasts for about 48 hours. Your doctor may also resort to this therapy if a migraine precipitates significant functional impairment. If symptomatic treatment does not offer adequate relief or gives rise to side effects, then too, the doctor may decide to go for preventive prophylaxis. In fact, the need for preventive management of migraines is huge since complete remission is hard to achieve.
Medications for Migraines
There are a few medications approved by FDA to treat migraines, which can reduce the frequency of migraine headaches by about 50%. However, neurologists usually resort to such therapy when the frequency of headaches exceeds one per week. This is mainly because preventive therapy for a migraine may have some significant side effects. Moreover, in many instances, the effectiveness of different migraine medications diminish rapidly after the first few dosages. In fact, the use of prophylactic medicines is largely limited due to its effects on the autonomic nervous system, tendency to stoke obesity and alter sex drive etc.
Preventive Antimigraine Therapy
There are five medications approved by FDA to treat migraines through anti-migraine therapy. These are – propranolol, amitriptyline, topiramate, valproate, and gabapentin. These medicines have been found to be effective in class 1 studies. More than 50% of patients treated with these medicines have had at least a 50% improvement in their condition. When done in the clinic, the improvement rate was found to be 60-70%. However, these are not the only medicines for preventive action on migraines. Different migraine medications such as flunarizine and sodium valproate have also been found to be effective in preventing migraines. For adults suffering from a chronic migraine, Onabotulinum toxin-A is one of the medications approved by FDA to treat migraines.