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Headaches: Should I Take Medicine to Prevent Migraines?

You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Headaches: Should I Take Medicine to Prevent Migraines?

Get the facts

Your options

  • Take daily medicine that can prevent migraines.
  • Don't take daily medicine. Instead, treat your migraines only when you have them.

Key points to remember

  • If your migraine symptoms are mild to moderate, doctors recommend that you first try an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen. If that doesn't work, then you can try a prescription medicine that can either prevent a migraine or stop a migraine after it has started.
  • If you get bad migraines often, you may want to take a daily medicine to help prevent them.
  • Medicines to prevent migraines may not stop every migraine. So you may still need to take another kind of medicine that can stop a migraine after it has started. But medicines you take daily can reduce how many migraines you get by more than half, reduce the number of days that they last, and make your symptoms less severe.
  • Medicines that prevent migraines may cause side effects. Some of these side effects may last for as long as you take the medicine. Or they may go away within a few weeks.
FAQs

What are migraines?

Migraines are painful, throbbing headaches that last from 4 to 72 hours. They often occur on only one side of your head. But the pain may move from one side of your head to the other, or you may feel it on both sides at the same time. Migraines may be so painful that you aren't able to do your daily activities.

When you have a migraine, you may also feel sick to your stomach and vomit. Activity, light, noise, or certain smells may make your migraine worse.

Some people have an aura before their migraine starts. When you have an aura, you may first see spots, wavy lines, or flashing lights. Your hands, arms, or face may tingle or feel numb. The aura usually starts about 30 minutes before your headache. But most people don't have auras.

Migraines run in families. But it's not clear why some people get them and others don't.

The cause of migraines is not well understood. But experts think that they may have something to do with the blood vessels in your brain, certain foods, alcohol, and stress.

How are migraines treated?

If your migraine symptoms are mild to moderate, doctors recommend that you first try over-the-counter pain medicines to manage your headaches. These medicines are safe and cost less than prescription migraine medicines. They include:

  • Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol).
  • Aspirin (such as Bayer).
  • Ibuprofen (such as Advil).
  • Naproxen (such as Aleve).

Some over-the-counter medicines (for example, Excedrin) combine acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.

If these medicines don't help, your doctor may prescribe a medicine that can quickly stop a migraine after it has started. A group of drugs called triptans is most often tried first. But these can cause serious side effects, especially for people who have heart disease and high blood pressure.

If over-the-counter pain medicines or triptans don't work, and if you get bad migraines often, you may want to take a daily medicine to help prevent them.

What are the medicines that prevent migraines?

There are several types of medicines that help prevent migraines. These medicines were first approved to treat other medical problems such as seizures, depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease. But they also help to prevent migraines.

These medicines are sorted into five groups:

  • Anticonvulsants (antiseizure medicines), including valproate (such as Depakene)
  • Antidepressants, including amitriptyline
  • Beta-blockers, including propranolol (such as Inderal)
  • Calcium channel blockers, including verapamil (such as Calan)
  • Botulinum toxin, such as Botox.

How well do medicines for preventing migraines work?

Medicines to prevent migraines may not stop every migraine. But studies have shown that:1

  • The antiseizure medicines topiramate and valproate and the beta-blocker propranolol can reduce the number of migraines you get each month by more than half. This happened in about 50 out of 100 people who took one of these medicines.
  • The antidepressant amitriptyline can greatly reduce how many migraines you get and the number of days that they last. It can also make your symptoms less severe.

Even though calcium channel blockers may be used to prevent migraines, the evidence for how well they work is not as strong as it is for these other medicines.1

What can you expect if you take medicine to prevent migraines?

You'll need to take pills every day—even when you don't have a headache.

It could take up to 2 to 3 months for the medicine to work. If you don't see any improvement after several weeks, talk to your doctor. You may need to try several different medicines to find one that works for you.

Medicine that you take daily may not prevent all migraines, so there may be times when you need to take another medicine to stop a migraine after it has started.

Medicines to prevent migraines may cause side effects. Some of these side effects may last for as long as you take the medicine. Or they may go away within a few weeks. You may need to decide which bothers you more—the side effects of the medicine or your migraines.

Common side effects include:

  • Sleep and memory problems.
  • An upset stomach.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Constipation.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dizziness.
  • A fast heart rate.

What else can you do to prevent migraines?

There are other things you can try to prevent migraines. These work for some people:

  • Acupuncture, which involves putting very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body. Current evidence suggests that it can help prevent some headaches.2
  • Biofeedback, a relaxation method for learning to control a body function that is not normally under conscious control, such as muscle tension.
  • Butterbur, which is an herb that has been shown to help prevent migraines in some people.3
  • Feverfew, which is an herb that has been studied a lot for migraine prevention. Some small studies show that it may help prevent migraines in some people. But most experts think the benefits are still unproven.4
  • Magnesium, which some doctors recommend to help prevent migraines. Studies have found that some people with migraines have low levels of magnesium in the brain.5
  • Menthol. There is some evidence that a menthol solution rubbed on the forehead can stop or reduce migraine headache pain.6
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and coenzyme Q10, which in small studies have both been shown to help prevent migraines.7

Here are some things you can do at home:

  • Identify and avoid triggers, such as certain foods, alcohol, and smoking. It may help to keep a headache diary to track how often you have migraines, how painful they are, and what you think might be causing them.
  • Practice relaxation and breathing exercises, such as meditation, guided imagery, tai chi, or qi gong, to help reduce stress and relax your mind and muscles.
  • Exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep.

Why might your doctor recommend medicine to prevent your migraines?

Your doctor may advise you to take medicine every day to prevent migraines if:

  • You get bad migraines often.
  • Your migraines are so painful that you're not able to do your daily activities.
  • You use medicine more than twice a week to stop a migraine after it has started.
  • You have tried medicines to stop a migraine, but they don't help.

Compare your options

Compare

What is usually involved?









What are the benefits?









What are the risks and side effects?









Take medicine to prevent migraines Take medicine to prevent migraines
  • You take a pill every day to help prevent migraines.
  • You avoid things that trigger your migraines, such as certain foods, alcohol, and smoking.
  • Benefits include:
    • Fewer or no migraines.
    • Shorter migraines.
    • Migraines that aren't as severe.
  • Possible side effects include:
    • Upset stomach.
    • Dry mouth.
    • Constipation.
    • Fatigue.
    • Dizziness.
    • A fast heart rate.
    • Sleep and memory problems.
    • Weight gain or loss.
Don't take medicine to prevent migraines Don't take medicine to prevent migraines
  • You only take medicine to stop a migraine after it has started and to relieve your symptoms.
  • You avoid things that may trigger your migraines, such as certain foods, alcohol, and smoking.
  • If your symptoms don't improve with home treatment and other medicines, you can decide later to take medicine every day to help prevent migraines.
  • You avoid the side effects of the medicine.
  • You avoid taking medicine every day.
  • You keep getting migraines.
  • When you get a migraine, you may not be able to do your daily activities, and you may miss several days of work or school.

Personal stories

Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.

Personal stories about migraine medicines

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

I had my first migraine when I started taking birth control pills. I saw wavy lines and had distorted vision at first, then I felt nauseous, and then developed a horrible, throbbing headache on one side of my head. I took some ibuprofen and laid down in a dark room. Even when the headache went away the next day, I felt achy all over and "fuzzy" in my head. I have had two migraines since I started taking the pill 3 months ago. I never had a migraine before that. My doctor recommended that I stop taking the pill and wait to see if my migraines stop too. I've decided to try antimigraine medicines right now.

Shelby, age 24

I first got migraines when I was a teenager. The medicines used to treat migraines at that time didn't really help me, so I quit taking them. Recently, I developed high blood pressure that we can't seem to get under control. I still get migraines, but not very often. I can usually stop the symptoms by taking an aspirin and lying down for awhile. When I was at my doctor's office for my high blood pressure, I asked about the newer antimigraine medicines. I am told they are much more effective at reducing migraine symptoms. But I am at risk for some of their more serious side effects until I get my blood pressure under control. My doctor suggested treating my high blood pressure and trying to prevent migraines with a single medicine such as a beta-blocker or calcium channel blocker.

Helen, age 59

I started getting migraines when I was a kid, although they didn't occur very often. Recently, my migraine attacks are much more frequent, about two a month. I tried taking ibuprofen, but it didn't help. The symptoms have been so bad that I had to go to the emergency room for a shot several times in the past few months. My doctor recommends that I try taking a prophylactic antimigraine medicine every day to try to prevent the migraine attacks. He also recommends antimigraine drugs, such as triptans, for migraines I might get while taking prophylactic medicines. Since I have missed so much work due to the migraines, I decided to try taking preventive medicines to see if this helps.

George, age 35

I have had migraines off and on for years. I was usually able to control them by taking an aspirin and lying down, but that is not helping anymore. I am also getting them close to my menstrual cycle and nearly every month. I am not taking birth control pills, and I don't smoke. I am in pretty good health other than for these migraines. My doctor recommended I try taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen to see if it helps prevent the attack from getting worse. I have decided to try an NSAID before getting a prescription for an antimigraine medicine.

Kasey, age 32

What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to take medicine to prevent migraines

Reasons not to take medicine to prevent migraines

I'm willing to take medicine every day if it will help my symptoms.

I don't want to take medicine every day.

More important
Equally important
More important

I don't think the side effects of the medicine could be as bad as my migraine symptoms.

I think the side effects of the medicine may bother me more than my symptoms.

More important
Equally important
More important

My migraines are affecting my work and relationships with friends and family.

My migraines are not affecting my work and relationships with friends and family.

More important
Equally important
More important

My other important reasons:

My other important reasons:

More important
Equally important
More important

Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Taking medicine to prevent migraines

NOT taking medicine to prevent migraines

Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1.

I may still get a migraine, even if I take medicine to prevent them.

  • TrueThat's right. Medicine may not prevent every migraine. But it can reduce how many migraines you get, reduce the number of days that they last, and make your symptoms less severe.
  • FalseSorry, that's not right. Medicine may not prevent every migraine. But it can reduce how many migraines you get, reduce the number of days that they last, and make your symptoms less severe.
  • I'm not sureIt may help to go back and read "Get the Facts." Medicine can reduce how many migraines you get, reduce the number of days that they last, and make your symptoms less severe.
2.

If I only get a migraine every now and then, and if my symptoms don't bother me too much, I should take medicine every day to prevent them.

  • TrueSorry, that's not right. Doctors recommend that you first try an over-the-counter pain medicine before you try a prescription medicine that can either prevent a migraine or stop a migraine after it has started.
  • FalseThat's right. Doctors recommend that you first try an over-the-counter pain medicine before you try a prescription medicine that can either prevent a migraine or stop a migraine after it has started.
  • I'm not sureIt may help to go back and read "Get the Facts." Doctors recommend that you first try an over-the-counter pain medicine before you try a prescription medicine that can either prevent or stop a migraine.

Decide what's next

1.

Do you understand the options available to you?

2.

Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?

3.

Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1.

How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure
3.

Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.

Your Summary

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.

Your decision 

Next steps

Which way you're leaning

How sure you are

Your comments

Your knowledge of the facts 

Key concepts that you understood

Key concepts that may need review

Getting ready to act 

Patient choices

Credits and References

Credits
Credits Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology

References
Citations
  1. Drugs for migraine (2011). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 9(102): 7–12.
  2. Linde K, et al. (2009). Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
  3. Lipton RB, et al. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology, 63(12): 2240–2244.
  4. Pittler MH, Ernst E (2004). Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
  5. Evans RW, Taylor FR (2006). "Natural" or alternative medications for migraine prevention. Headache, 46(6): 1012–1018.
  6. Haghighi AB, et al. (2010). Cutaneous application of menthol 10% solution as an abortive treatment of migraine without aura: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossed-over study. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 64(4): 451–456.
  7. Sándor PS, et al. (2005). Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: A randomized controlled trial. Neurology, 64(4): 713–715.
You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Headaches: Should I Take Medicine to Prevent Migraines?

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.
  1. Get the facts
  2. Compare your options
  3. What matters most to you?
  4. Where are you leaning now?
  5. What else do you need to make your decision?

1. Get the facts

Your options

  • Take daily medicine that can prevent migraines.
  • Don't take daily medicine. Instead, treat your migraines only when you have them.

Key points to remember

  • If your migraine symptoms are mild to moderate, doctors recommend that you first try an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen. If that doesn't work, then you can try a prescription medicine that can either prevent a migraine or stop a migraine after it has started.
  • If you get bad migraines often, you may want to take a daily medicine to help prevent them.
  • Medicines to prevent migraines may not stop every migraine. So you may still need to take another kind of medicine that can stop a migraine after it has started. But medicines you take daily can reduce how many migraines you get by more than half, reduce the number of days that they last, and make your symptoms less severe.
  • Medicines that prevent migraines may cause side effects. Some of these side effects may last for as long as you take the medicine. Or they may go away within a few weeks.
FAQs

What are migraines?

Migraines are painful, throbbing headaches that last from 4 to 72 hours. They often occur on only one side of your head. But the pain may move from one side of your head to the other, or you may feel it on both sides at the same time. Migraines may be so painful that you aren't able to do your daily activities.

When you have a migraine, you may also feel sick to your stomach and vomit. Activity, light, noise, or certain smells may make your migraine worse.

Some people have an aura before their migraine starts. When you have an aura, you may first see spots, wavy lines, or flashing lights. Your hands, arms, or face may tingle or feel numb. The aura usually starts about 30 minutes before your headache. But most people don't have auras.

Migraines run in families. But it's not clear why some people get them and others don't.

The cause of migraines is not well understood. But experts think that they may have something to do with the blood vessels in your brain, certain foods, alcohol, and stress.

How are migraines treated?

If your migraine symptoms are mild to moderate, doctors recommend that you first try over-the-counter pain medicines to manage your headaches. These medicines are safe and cost less than prescription migraine medicines. They include:

  • Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol).
  • Aspirin (such as Bayer).
  • Ibuprofen (such as Advil).
  • Naproxen (such as Aleve).

Some over-the-counter medicines (for example, Excedrin) combine acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.

If these medicines don't help, your doctor may prescribe a medicine that can quickly stop a migraine after it has started. A group of drugs called triptans is most often tried first. But these can cause serious side effects, especially for people who have heart disease and high blood pressure.

If over-the-counter pain medicines or triptans don't work, and if you get bad migraines often, you may want to take a daily medicine to help prevent them.

What are the medicines that prevent migraines?

There are several types of medicines that help prevent migraines. These medicines were first approved to treat other medical problems such as seizures, depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease. But they also help to prevent migraines.

These medicines are sorted into five groups:

  • Anticonvulsants (antiseizure medicines), including valproate (such as Depakene)
  • Antidepressants, including amitriptyline
  • Beta-blockers, including propranolol (such as Inderal)
  • Calcium channel blockers, including verapamil (such as Calan)
  • Botulinum toxin, such as Botox.

How well do medicines for preventing migraines work?

Medicines to prevent migraines may not stop every migraine. But studies have shown that:1

  • The antiseizure medicines topiramate and valproate and the beta-blocker propranolol can reduce the number of migraines you get each month by more than half. This happened in about 50 out of 100 people who took one of these medicines.
  • The antidepressant amitriptyline can greatly reduce how many migraines you get and the number of days that they last. It can also make your symptoms less severe.

Even though calcium channel blockers may be used to prevent migraines, the evidence for how well they work is not as strong as it is for these other medicines.1

What can you expect if you take medicine to prevent migraines?

You'll need to take pills every day—even when you don't have a headache.

It could take up to 2 to 3 months for the medicine to work. If you don't see any improvement after several weeks, talk to your doctor. You may need to try several different medicines to find one that works for you.

Medicine that you take daily may not prevent all migraines, so there may be times when you need to take another medicine to stop a migraine after it has started.

Medicines to prevent migraines may cause side effects. Some of these side effects may last for as long as you take the medicine. Or they may go away within a few weeks. You may need to decide which bothers you more—the side effects of the medicine or your migraines.

Common side effects include:

  • Sleep and memory problems.
  • An upset stomach.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Constipation.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dizziness.
  • A fast heart rate.

What else can you do to prevent migraines?

There are other things you can try to prevent migraines. These work for some people:

  • Acupuncture, which involves putting very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body. Current evidence suggests that it can help prevent some headaches.2
  • Biofeedback, a relaxation method for learning to control a body function that is not normally under conscious control, such as muscle tension.
  • Butterbur, which is an herb that has been shown to help prevent migraines in some people.3
  • Feverfew, which is an herb that has been studied a lot for migraine prevention. Some small studies show that it may help prevent migraines in some people. But most experts think the benefits are still unproven.4
  • Magnesium, which some doctors recommend to help prevent migraines. Studies have found that some people with migraines have low levels of magnesium in the brain.5
  • Menthol. There is some evidence that a menthol solution rubbed on the forehead can stop or reduce migraine headache pain.6
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and coenzyme Q10, which in small studies have both been shown to help prevent migraines.7

Here are some things you can do at home:

  • Identify and avoid triggers, such as certain foods, alcohol, and smoking. It may help to keep a headache diary to track how often you have migraines, how painful they are, and what you think might be causing them.
  • Practice relaxation and breathing exercises, such as meditation, guided imagery, tai chi, or qi gong, to help reduce stress and relax your mind and muscles.
  • Exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep.

Why might your doctor recommend medicine to prevent your migraines?

Your doctor may advise you to take medicine every day to prevent migraines if:

  • You get bad migraines often.
  • Your migraines are so painful that you're not able to do your daily activities.
  • You use medicine more than twice a week to stop a migraine after it has started.
  • You have tried medicines to stop a migraine, but they don't help.

2. Compare your options

  Take medicine to prevent migraines Don't take medicine to prevent migraines
What is usually involved?
  • You take a pill every day to help prevent migraines.
  • You avoid things that trigger your migraines, such as certain foods, alcohol, and smoking.
  • You only take medicine to stop a migraine after it has started and to relieve your symptoms.
  • You avoid things that may trigger your migraines, such as certain foods, alcohol, and smoking.
What are the benefits?
  • Benefits include:
    • Fewer or no migraines.
    • Shorter migraines.
    • Migraines that aren't as severe.
  • If your symptoms don't improve with home treatment and other medicines, you can decide later to take medicine every day to help prevent migraines.
  • You avoid the side effects of the medicine.
  • You avoid taking medicine every day.
What are the risks and side effects?
  • Possible side effects include:
    • Upset stomach.
    • Dry mouth.
    • Constipation.
    • Fatigue.
    • Dizziness.
    • A fast heart rate.
    • Sleep and memory problems.
    • Weight gain or loss.
  • You keep getting migraines.
  • When you get a migraine, you may not be able to do your daily activities, and you may miss several days of work or school.

Personal stories

Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.

Personal stories about migraine medicines

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

"I had my first migraine when I started taking birth control pills. I saw wavy lines and had distorted vision at first, then I felt nauseous, and then developed a horrible, throbbing headache on one side of my head. I took some ibuprofen and laid down in a dark room. Even when the headache went away the next day, I felt achy all over and "fuzzy" in my head. I have had two migraines since I started taking the pill 3 months ago. I never had a migraine before that. My doctor recommended that I stop taking the pill and wait to see if my migraines stop too. I've decided to try antimigraine medicines right now."

— Shelby, age 24

"I first got migraines when I was a teenager. The medicines used to treat migraines at that time didn't really help me, so I quit taking them. Recently, I developed high blood pressure that we can't seem to get under control. I still get migraines, but not very often. I can usually stop the symptoms by taking an aspirin and lying down for awhile. When I was at my doctor's office for my high blood pressure, I asked about the newer antimigraine medicines. I am told they are much more effective at reducing migraine symptoms. But I am at risk for some of their more serious side effects until I get my blood pressure under control. My doctor suggested treating my high blood pressure and trying to prevent migraines with a single medicine such as a beta-blocker or calcium channel blocker."

— Helen, age 59

"I started getting migraines when I was a kid, although they didn't occur very often. Recently, my migraine attacks are much more frequent, about two a month. I tried taking ibuprofen, but it didn't help. The symptoms have been so bad that I had to go to the emergency room for a shot several times in the past few months. My doctor recommends that I try taking a prophylactic antimigraine medicine every day to try to prevent the migraine attacks. He also recommends antimigraine drugs, such as triptans, for migraines I might get while taking prophylactic medicines. Since I have missed so much work due to the migraines, I decided to try taking preventive medicines to see if this helps."

— George, age 35

"I have had migraines off and on for years. I was usually able to control them by taking an aspirin and lying down, but that is not helping anymore. I am also getting them close to my menstrual cycle and nearly every month. I am not taking birth control pills, and I don't smoke. I am in pretty good health other than for these migraines. My doctor recommended I try taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen to see if it helps prevent the attack from getting worse. I have decided to try an NSAID before getting a prescription for an antimigraine medicine."

— Kasey, age 32

3. What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to take medicine to prevent migraines

Reasons not to take medicine to prevent migraines

I'm willing to take medicine every day if it will help my symptoms.

I don't want to take medicine every day.

More important
Equally important
More important

I don't think the side effects of the medicine could be as bad as my migraine symptoms.

I think the side effects of the medicine may bother me more than my symptoms.

More important
Equally important
More important

My migraines are affecting my work and relationships with friends and family.

My migraines are not affecting my work and relationships with friends and family.

More important
Equally important
More important

My other important reasons:

My other important reasons:

More important
Equally important
More important

4. Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Taking medicine to prevent migraines

NOT taking medicine to prevent migraines

Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

5. What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1. I may still get a migraine, even if I take medicine to prevent them.

  • True
  • False
  • I'm not sure
That's right. Medicine may not prevent every migraine. But it can reduce how many migraines you get, reduce the number of days that they last, and make your symptoms less severe.

2. If I only get a migraine every now and then, and if my symptoms don't bother me too much, I should take medicine every day to prevent them.

  • True
  • False
  • I'm not sure
That's right. Doctors recommend that you first try an over-the-counter pain medicine before you try a prescription medicine that can either prevent a migraine or stop a migraine after it has started.

Decide what's next

1. Do you understand the options available to you?

2. Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?

3. Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure

2. Check what you need to do before you make this decision.

  • I'm ready to take action.
  • I want to discuss the options with others.
  • I want to learn more about my options.

3. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.

Credits
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology

References
Citations
  1. Drugs for migraine (2011). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 9(102): 7–12.
  2. Linde K, et al. (2009). Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
  3. Lipton RB, et al. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology, 63(12): 2240–2244.
  4. Pittler MH, Ernst E (2004). Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).
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