types of migraine headaches medication

What are the 2 Major Types of Migraine Headaches and their Medication Solutions?

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People who suffer migraine headaches can access medications after consulting with specialized doctors. Although treatment has been existing for quite a while, there are migraine treatment options that are newer and more effective.

Migraine pain usually occurs on one side of the head. In this article, you will find different migraine medications that help relieve the pain. The medications used mostly do not eliminate the migraine but ease its symptoms.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a type of headache that can cause severe pain due to abnormal brain activity affecting nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Although the exact cause of a migraine headache is unknown, headache specialists point toward abnormal brain activity.

Common Migraine Symptoms

Several symptoms accompany severe headaches that one should look out for. The following are some of the most common migraine symptoms:

  • Throbbing/pulsating pain on one side of the head
  • Sensitivity to sound and/or light
  • Visual disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Light-headedness
  • Scalp tenderness
migraine treatment options
Patients should be aware of symptoms that accompany an acute migraine or chronic migraine.

Diagnosis of a Migraine Headache

Because there is no specific migraine diagnosis, doctors collaborate with their patients to establish recurring patterns. While most general practitioners carry out the initial physical examinations, they might later refer a patient to a neurologist if the cases are not straightforward.

The doctor will rely on the symptoms of a patient to conclude whether the patient has a migraine or not. The patient will answer questions about whether they can carry out their daily activities, feel sick, or whether the migraine worsens with movement.

If a patient is referred to a specialist, the following tests can be conducted to check or diagnose neurological disorders.

  • Computerized Test Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging

One crucial thing that a migraine sufferer can help their doctor with diagnosis is by keeping a migraine diary. It will include the time and date when migraines occur, triggers, symptoms of the migraine, and what medications you use for relief.

Recording everything that happens during a migraine attack eases the diagnosis process. Through the use of a diary, a doctor can make a diagnosis.

The Different Migraine Treatment Options

types of migraine headaches medication
A migraine patient can receive migraine medication in the form of pills, shots and nasal sprays.

Many migraine medications treat the condition from different approaches. Most medications are administered orally, but other treatments are administered through injections or nasal sprays.

Medications for migraine fall under two main categories:

  • Preventive medications. These are migraine medications taken to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. They are usually taken daily.
  • Pain relievers. Referred to as acute treatment of migraines that are administered during a migraine attack and functions by relieving migraine pain.

Migraine patients can choose migraine treatments depending on the following factors:

  • Frequency of the migraine
  • The severity of the migraine
  • Combination symptoms
  • Existing medical conditions

Medications for Relieving Pain

To deal with a migraine effectively, patients must take migraine medications at the first sign of headache pain. Also referred to as abortive medications, migraine medications relieve pain. The following are different types of medications, in detail, that patients can use to relieve headache pain.

Pain Relievers

Pain relievers can either be prescription drugs or sold over the counter without a prescription. They offer relief for acute migraine attacks. However, when used regularly in the long term, they can cause medication overuse headaches.

They include ibuprofen, aspirin, and Excedrin migraine, a combination of caffeine, acetaminophen, and aspirin. If taken too long, side effects will include stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal tract bleeding, and medication-overuse headaches.

Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptors Antagonists

CGRP antagonists are new treatment options for migraines. They are very effective in relieving migraine symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound. They include ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) and rimegepant (Nurtec ODT). Common side effects of CGRP antagonists include excessive sleepiness, dry mouth, and nausea.


Classified as prescription medicines, triptans offer migraine relief by blocking pain pathways. They function like serotonin receptor agonists and constrict blood vessels, minimizing migraine pain.

Although triptans offer pain relief, they are unsuitable for people with coronary heart disease. They can be administered via injections, nasal sprays, and tablets. They include sumatriptan (Imitrex, Tosymra) and rizatriptan (Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT).


Lasmiditan helps treat migraines with visual disturbances and falls under the same class as triptans. A common side effect of the drug is dizziness; hence, patients are advised not to operate machinery like driving for at least eight hours.

Opioid Medications

Patients who cannot find migraine relief from all other treatment options can use opioid medications. However, these medications are highly addictive and should only be used if there is no alternative.


The most sighted side effect is the worsening of vomiting and feeling nauseous. The drug is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, liver disease, or kidney disease.

Anti-Nausea Drugs

While anti-nausea drugs do not treat migraines directly, they help with symptoms related to migraines, such as feeling nauseous and vomiting. Even though they are taken to relieve migraine symptoms, they should be accompanied by pain killers. They include metoclopramide (Reglan), prochlorperazine (Compro), and chlorpromazine.

Preventive Medications

In the case of severe and frequent migraines, doctors recommend migraine prevention. It is important to understand that preventive medications are not designed to treat migraines. Usually, they are medicines used to treat other conditions.

Anti-Seizure Drugs

Side effects include nausea, weight changes, and dizziness, among others. Furthermore, the drugs are not recommended for pregnant women.

Blood Pressure Medications

Blood pressure medications like calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers are preventive medications. Although the two perform similar functions, they cannot be taken together.

Side effects of these medications include liver dysfunction, constipation, drowsiness, headache, and edema. Beta-blockers’ side effects include tiredness, cold hands, and feet, difficulties in sleeping, and feeling sick

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are a migraine preventive treatment that maintains healthy levels of the serotonin neurotransmitter. They are serotonin receptor agonists, including drugs like Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline. They are not recommended during pregnancy.

Botox Injections

Botox works by relaxing the muscles or tissues, and some patients prefer the shot to oral pills. Botox shots’ most common side effect is a reaction at the injection site.

Other Treatment Options

  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Warnings and Precautions of Migraine Medications

Even though migraine drugs are crucial to the treatment of migraine, Migraine sufferers should take precautions. Patients should avoid long-term use of abortive medications, which can cause medication overuse headaches.

On the other hand, patients should not mix any preventive medications but stick to the prescriptions given by doctors. If a patient feels that the migraine drugs are ineffective, they should talk to a doctor to establish a different line of medications.

migraine treatment options
To avoid drug interactions or addiction, it is important to seek a doctor’s advice first.

Pregnancy and Migraine Medications

During pregnancy, women might experience migraines and look for migraine drugs. Since pregnancy is delicate, some migraine medications might harm the mother and the unborn baby. As much as pregnant women seek relief from the pain, they should first visit a doctor. 

Pregnant women can use the safest migraine drugs, including acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and opioid medications. Expecting women can use triptans only in severe cases of migraines.

How to Manage a Migraine Headache

types of migraine headaches medication
Consulting a GP is one of the most important first line of treatment for chronic migraines.

Keeping tabs on your migraine attacks will help you choose the appropriate medication. While a GP will help with common prescription drugs, migraine sufferers need to see a neurologist in case of neurological disorders.

Migraine patients can visit Fort Worth Pharmacy, Texas, to get a prescription. Whether you are a new or existing client, you will talk to qualified and certified pharmacists to help with your prescriptions.

The friendly and effective service at Fort Worth Pharmacy will help you get a suitable over-the-counter migraine drug. Considering factors like pregnancy or existing medical conditions, you will receive migraine drugs that are effective and which do not interact with your condition.

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