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Medicines Can Reduce Attacks Or Relieve The Pain Of Migraines

From Aetna's Women's Health Programs

There are things you can do to help cope with migraines. Identify your type of headache and work with your doctor to fi nd the right treatment. These are important fi rst steps to feeling better.

Unfortunately, some migraines cannot be stopped. When you get a migraine, here are some steps you can take to help ease the pain:

  • Follow the steps you and your doctor outlined in your individual migraine management plan.
  • Keep your migraine pain relief medicine with you at all times.
  • Know the characteristics of your prodrome or aura.
  • Recognize the start of a headache as soon as possible.
  • Take medicine as directed by your doctor at the first sign of pain.
  • Use self-care, as instructed by your doctor; seek out a cool, dark and quiet place.

Understanding Your Medicine

Your doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Divalproex sodium
  • Amitriptyline
  • Propranolol
  • Timolol
  • Topiramate

These medications will not help if taken after a migraine starts. Always take your medication exactly as your doctor instructs.

Medications To Take When the Pain First Starts

Your doctor may suggest the following:

  • Non-prescription, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs): ibuprofen; naproxen sodium
  • Triptans: rizatriptan (Maxalt); sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • Other medicines, such as aspirin

Always take medication exactly as your doctor instructs.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your headache is much worse or much different than usual
  • Your medicine doesn't seem to be working as you expect it to
  • You have unusual or severe side effects from your medicine

Last updated January 19, 2010