Medication Basics

November 3rd, 2009

I’ve been getting a lot of medication questions from readers lately. Of course what we are all looking for is something that will help us feel better, without side effects that mess up our lives! I am not a medication expert. I’m not a doctor, and while I am interested in science I haven’t taken a science class since college, many years ago! What I do is help people with Migraine disease manage their lives, inside of the resources that are available, part cheerleader (you Can do it!), part manager (here’s how – here’s when – let’s plan it), part personal trainer (yes, just stretch a little further, let’s keep it going), part teacher (here’s some knowledge and information that will help).

In my view, medication is a partial solution. We have a brain chemistry that causes us to have Migraine attacks – that chemistry can be partially addressed with medication. We can also have a large impact on our nervous systems through regulating our lives – getting regular sleep and relaxation, eating properly and regularly. Learning our triggers and getting attuned to our energy levels, we can reduce our Migraines. With a combination of medication and this kind of self-knowledge, we can reduce Migraines significantly.

That said, here is some basic information about types medication for Migraine.

  1. anticonvulsants, the same kind of medications that are prescribed to treat epilepsy, such as Topamax or Depakote;
  2. antidepressants, several different classes of these drugs can help prevent Migraines, generally prescribed at a much lower dose than used to treat depression; and
  3. antihypertensives, again, several different classes of these drugs are effective for some people.

No preventive medicine will prevent every single Migraine, and different ones work, alone or in     combination, for different people. A very complete list of these medications is available at My Migraine Connection: Migraine Preventive Medications – Too Many Options To Give Up!

Over the counter pain medications, even if they have “migraine” in the name, do nothing but cover up the pain for a short time, and are not truly Migraine medications. They may be the only alternative for you at a particular time, if you don’t have prescription medications or you can’t take them. But several cautions:

If you have 3 or more Migraines per month, Migraine specialists will consider you a candidate for preventive medication. Most Migraine specialists will prescribe a preventive, abortive and rescue medication for you, so that you can prevent as many Migraines as possible and treat the ones that happen anyway. If your doctor has run out of options, or you are working with a doctor who is not a Migraine specialist, you can get great information about treatment options at My Migraine Connection: Preventive, Abortive, and Rescue Medications – What’s the Difference?

- Megan

Magic pill image courtesy of [O*] ‘BharaT.

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Remember: nothing we do here is medical advice or treatment or is a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Get competent medical advice to learn more about your migraines, possible treatments and risks.

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