Acute Migraine Headache Treatment Options
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-Acute Migraine Headache Treatment Options
Migraine treatment falls into two categories — acute or preventative (also called prophylactic). Mute treatment is an analgesic, or pain-relieving, medication or therapy that is taken when a migraine begins. It is designed to stop or alleviate the pain and other symptoms of a migraine attack. When acute treatment fails to stop head pain, then a more potent rescue medication is required. It’s important not to overuse either acute or rescue migraine medications, as overuse can cause more frequent, or ‘rebound” headaches.
Because of their potential for physical dependence, opioids are usually reserved as rescue, or abortive, migraine therapies. This means that they are a second-line treatment that is used only when nonopioid therapies are ineffective and migraine pain is severe. If your migraines don’t respond to preventative therapies because they are infrequent and unpredictable, and they are moderately severe to severe in pain intensity, your physician may prescribe these drugs as a backup to nonopioid analgesics.
Ergot derivatives (dihydroergotamine and ergotamine) are an older class of migraine medications. Because of the high incidence of side effects, especially nausea as an immediate side effect, complex vascular problems when used over the long term, and the availability of more effective therapies, these drugs are typically only used in patients who have severe side effects or allergies to other migraine medication. Ergot derivatives only relieve the pain symptoms of migraine, while other symptoms associated with a migraine attack may linger. Ergotamine can actually prolong aura in patients who experience migraine with aura, and the drugs can also increase nausea and vomiting.