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Drug Therapies For Headaches

Headaches can be managed with medications. Medications for the treatment of headache pain can be categorized into three types:

- Preventive therapy

- Abortive therapy

- Symptomatic relief

Each of these medication options can be together with other recommendations like lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, (sufficient sleep and enough hydration), relaxation therapy and exercise. The drug therapies are all effective in pain management.

Preventive Medical Care

Medications are taken every day to forestall the occurrence of headaches. A number of these medications are used in the treatment of other medical conditions as well. In fact, they were accidentally discovered to aid in relieving headache pain. Whereas none of them cures headache, preventive medications are able to scale back the duration, severity and frequency of headache attacks.

The preventive medicines consist of both prescription and over-the-counter medicine. They are not addictive, but any medicine may cause unwanted side effects and only be partially effective in pain management. Your physician ought to work with you to carefully regulate the dose so that headache relief is maximized and the side effects are reduced.


To work effectively in pain management, all preventive medicines should be taken once or several times a day. It might be necessary to change the medicine and modify their dosages so as to find out which medication or combination of medicines work best to cut back the severity and frequency of your headache pain.

When these medicines are being used, careful recording of headache severity and frequency each day can enable your physician to determine how the medicines are working in your managing your pain. Most of those medications require days to weeks of everyday use before they effectively prevent headaches. Preventive medicines include anticonvulsant medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, calcium channel blockers and beta blockers.

Abortive Therapy

These medications are administered early to block the process that causes headache pain. Use of this method helps minimize headache symptoms like nausea as well as light and sound sensitivity. These medications work best if used when the initial signs of megrim show. Some medications must not be used in the treatment of megrim aura. When headaches and particularly megrim headaches last longer than twenty-four hours and alternative medications are not successful in managing the attacks, medicines administered in an "infusion suite" may be administered. An infusion suite is a designated set of rooms in a clinic or hospital that are watched over by a nurse and where endovenous medication is administered. The endovenous medication is generally capable of ending the megrim attack. Abortive therapy madicines include zolmitriptan (Zomig速), sumatriptan succinate (Imitrex速) and others.

Symptomatic relief

This category of medicines is given for the relief of symptoms related to headache. This consists of pain related to headaches or nausea as well as emesis related to cephalalgia headaches. Most of the medications are available over-the-counter (OTC - with no prescription). Alternative medications need a prescription from physicians. As you take these medicines, avoid caffeine-containing foods and beverages as well as medications. Medications containing narcotics (codeine) and barbiturates (butalbital) ought to be avoided if possible. The use of aspirin ought to be avoided. Most of the medicines listed for symptomatic relief are not recommended for use by young children. These medicines include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, simple analgesics, sedatives or anti-emetic medication.


In conclusion, headache pain management involves the use of three forms of therapies: symptomatic relief, abortive therapy and preventive medical care.


Drug therapies for headaches