my migraine
Understanding Migraine Treatment Options

Today you have more and more options available to help you get the relief you need. Ask your doctor or healthcare professional about more options available to you , including both medication and non-drug therapies. And always be sure to take your medications exactly as prescribed. Remember: It is important to keep track of what medication works for you. Your migraine diary will help you do this. If you have any questions about migraine or treatment programs, be sure to ask your doctor or healthcare professional.


Medications for the treatment of migraine typically fall into three categories:

Acute Migraine Medications:

These drugs, called triptans, help interrupt the migraine process, including the associated symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, and are not simply pain relievers. Because these medications are much more than "pain-killers," they should be taken only as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Symptomatic Medications:

These drugs are used to treat specific symptoms that can occur during a migraine, such as pain or nausea. They may be used if acute medication is not effective for a given attack or if one symptom is particularly bothersome during a migraine attack.

Preventive (or Prophylactic) Medications:
These medicines are taken on a regular, often daily; basis to help reduce the frequency and/or severity of migraine attacks. It is thought that these drugs work by stabilizing the blood vessels surrounding the brain or by blocking the release of brain chemicals that are involved in a migraine attack. These drugs will not usually prevent every migraine attack. Therefore, most people will also need to have acute or symptomatic medications available to treat breakthrough migraine attacks. Preventive medications are most commonly used by patients with three or more migraines most months, or by patients whose migraines limit their ability to perform daily activities several days each month. Ask your doctor or healthcare professional about the options available to you, including over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and non-drug therapies. And always be sure to take your medications exactly as prescribed. Remember: It is important to keep track of what medication works for you.

Tips for Treatment

  • Take your medication as directed by your doctor.
  • While on preventive medication, don't be discouraged if you have occasional migraine attacks. Check with your healthcare professional about how best to manage these attacks.
  • Notify your doctor:
    • before you change or discontinue a drug
    • before trying a different combination of medications
    • if any side effects appear when on medication
  • In addition, you may want to try other forms of self-help, including avoidance of triggers, stress reduction techniques (hobbies, biofeedback, relaxation training), and regular exercise.

Always Work With Your Doctor
Unfortunately, no drug can cure migraine or relieve all its symptoms all the time. You do, however, have an increasing variety of treatment options available to you, and you'll want to be familiar with a number of them. In the pursuit of pain relief, always work with your doctor or healthcare professional. Only he or she can prescribe for you, monitor your treatment, inform you about possible side effects, and introduce new medications as they become available.