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What are Anti-migraine drugs?
Migraines are severe headaches that are usually characterized by an intense throbbing or pulsing in one area of the head. Antimigraine drugs are those who control the symptoms of migraine and reduce the frequency and severity of migraine. They work by reducing pain and inflammation by contracting blood vessels, increasing serotonin levels and reducing other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, etc.
Migraines often begin at childhood and progress up to adulthood. It has 4 stages. However, everyone who has migraine may not go through all the stages.
1. Prodrome – Can be felt one or two days before, as a warning of an upcoming migraine.
– Symptoms: Constipation, mood changes, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination, frequent yawning.
2. Aura – May occur before or during migraines, each symptom begins gradually and builds over several minutes and lasts for 20 to 60 minutes.
– Symptoms: Visual phenomena seeing various shapes bright spots flashes of light, pin and needles sensation in arms, weakness, and numbness, speaking difficulty, hearing noises.
3. Attack – Lasts 4 to 72 hrs if untreated.
– Symptoms: Extreme pain in head pain, throbs or pulses, sensitivity to light sound smell touch.
4. Post drome – It leaves a person drained, confused, washed out for a day or two.
Changes in the brainstem and its interaction with the trigeminal nerve.
- Imbalance of brain chemicals.
- Hormonal changes.
- Drinking and smoking.
- Sleep changes.
- Physical factors.
- Food additives.
Common migraine medications
Painkillers : Acetaminophen (Excedrin, Tylenol), Aspirin, Diclofenac (Cataflam)
Ergotamine’s : Dihydroergotamine (DHE-45, Migranal), Ergotamine (Ergomar), Methysergide (Sansert).
Triptans : Almotriptan (Axert), Eletriptan (Relpax), Frovatriptan (Frova), Zolmitriptan (Zomig).
Antinausea : Dimenhydrinate (Gravol), Metoclopramide (Reglan), Promethazine(Phenergan).
Beta-blockers : Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol ( Toprol xl).
- Avoid stress
- Healthy diet
- Eat at regular intervals
- Curb caffeine consumption
- Be careful with exercises; some might trigger a headache.
- Regular sleep
- Avoid loud noises and bright lights
- Track your migraine attacks and change medication and doses as needed.
- MRI – Uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of the brain and blood vessels.
- CT Scan – Series of x-rays for cross-sectional images of the brain.
- History study of headaches.
- Neurological tests
- Location of pain
- Blood chemistry and urinalysis
- Eye exam to check optic pressure during headache.
1. What are migraine triggers?
– Any physical environmental factors which trigger migraine are triggers.
2. Is there a link between hormones that maintain the body’s balance?
– If there is hormonal imbalance, it might lead to a migraine attack.
3. What are cluster headaches?
– They get the name because they occur in specific areas of the head.
4. Are headaches hereditary?
– The exact origin is not known, but four out of five people suffer from headaches.
5. Why do some people get headaches only on the weekend
– Sleeping more or sleeping less or excessive partying may lead to a headache. One must follow a regular sleep cycle even on the weekend.
6. Are there types of headaches?
– Yes, they are primary (tension, migraine, cluster) and secondary, and have organic causes.