Medications for tension and migraine headache

Many people with muscle tension headaches do not seek a doctor to treat but take the medications alone.
The problem is that repeated use of over-the-counter painkillers can cause headache from overuse of medication.
There is no better remedy, but a drug can be more effective for one person and less useful for another.

Many people say that you need to take medications as soon as the symptoms appear, usually in the morning when the person gets up.
Administering medications for at least one hour after the onset of symptoms may be useless because the medication no longer works.
It is critical to understand the cause of the headaches to take the right medication, for example, if the patient feels pain especially when lowering (forward bending) the cause may be sinusitis so the treatment is different.
Different over-the-counter or prescription medications are available to resolve or reduce the pain of a migraine attack , including:


Generally, simple over -the-counter anti-inflammatories are the first medications you take to reduce headaches.
Among these medications are: aspirin, anomer, dorflex.
People who suffer from cervical pain ( neck pain ) that extends from behind the neck to the temples (right or left side) can reduce the symptoms with these medications.
For the pain in the neck that radiates to the face, many people reduce the symptoms with Dorflex.
Anti-inflammatories can not be taken on an empty stomach because they can cause ulcers and pain in the stomach .
Among the analgesic, acetaminophen or paracetamol (Acetamil, etc.) may be less effective in the treatment of a severe headache and are most likely to cause a headache for  drug abuse.
Paracetamol may be taken during pregnancy and lactation.
Ibuprofen can be taken only after the first trimester of pregnancy. In fact, in the first three months there is a risk of spontaneous abortion .


Combined medications
Aspirin and paracetamol are often combined with caffeine or a sedative in a single medication.
Combinations of medications may be more effective than a simple analgesic.
Although many combination medications are available without a prescription, those who contain sedatives can be taken only with prescription because they can cause addiction and can cause chronic daily headache .

Triptans and Narcotics
For those who suffer from migraines and occasionally have headaches, triptans can relieve pain of both types.
Studies have shown that injections of a widely used remedy for migraine like sumatriptan (Imigran ®) may also relieve the symptoms of chronic tension headache.
Opiates or narcotics are rarely used because of their side effects and because they can cause addiction.
Medications for pain do not cure headache; serve only to relieve symptoms temporarily.
Over time, painkillers and other medications may lose their effectiveness and may also cause headaches.
To avoid developing headache from overuse of medication, do not use painkillers more than nine days a month.
In addition, all medications have side effects. For regular administration of medicines, including over-the-counter products, it is necessary to talk about the risks and benefits with your doctor. In addition, it is advisable to recognize the stress factors that can cause a headache because pain medications do not solve the problem.


Preventive medication

Some medications taken regularly can reduce the frequency and severity of headache attacks.
The doctor may prescribe these for people who suffer from frequent headaches, or if the pain is not relieved by painkillers and even by natural remedies such as a healthy diet or some herbs.
Your doctor may recommend preventive medications if:

  • The headache becomes debilitating
  • Causes excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs
  • It is not possible to take painkillers because of other diseases.

Doctors may prescribe antidepressants to prevent headache, especially in a chronic way.
These medicines are not analgesics.
On the contrary, antidepressants act to stabilize the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that may be involved in the development of headaches (eg, serotonin).
You do not need to be depressed to use these medications.
If the headache is of cervical origin , the doctor does not recommend preventive medicines because the medicines take effect even when the symptoms are already present.
Preventive medications can be taken independently of the part of the affected head (occipital area, frontal, eyes, etc.)

Tricyclic antidepressants
Tricyclic antidepressants such as nortriptyline (pamelor) are the most prescribed medications to prevent tension headache. They are effective for the sporadic and chronic form. The side effects of these medications include weight gain, drowsinessand dry mouth .

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Antidepressants (such as fluoxetine etc.) produce fewer side effects than tricyclic antidepressants, but are generally not considered effective for tension headache.

Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants
Other medications that can prevent tension headache include anticonvulsants such as topiramate (Topamax ®), gabapentin (Neurontin ®) and muscle relaxants such as thiocolchicoside (Muscoril ®).
Preventive medications can be effective after several weeks because they must accumulate in the nervous system.
Remember that excessive use of caffeine or painkillers to relieve acute pain can reduce the effect of a preventive medication.
To get the maximum effectiveness of preventive medication the anti-inflammatories should be taken as little as possible.
The doctor controls the treatment to see how the preventive drug is working. If the headache is under control, the dose of the drug may be reduced gradually over time.


Medications for migraine

Several medications have been designed for the treatment of migraine. In addition, some medications used to treat other diseases may help relieve or prevent migraine.
The drugs used to fight headache fall into two broad categories:

are used during an acute attack of migraine and are designed to relieve the symptoms that are already present.

Preventive Medications
Generally these types of medications are taken every day to reduce the severity or frequency of migraine. The decision to start a preventive treatment depends on the frequency and severity of headaches, the degree of disability that causes the headache and other concomitant diseases. Some medicines are not recommended for pregnant women, infants or children. Your doctor can help you find the most appropriate medication.


Medications for pain

For best results, it is necessary to take the pain medications as soon as you feel the signs or symptoms of a migraine.
These medications, such as Anador, Dorflex, etc., can help relieve mild headaches.
Medications marketed specifically for migraine, such as paracetamol, aspirin and caffeine, may relieve migraine but are not effective for strong migraines. If taken frequently or for prolonged periods, these medicines can cause ulcers, digestive hemorrhage and rebound headaches.

For many people with migraine attacks, triptans are the main drugs. These medications are effective in relieving pain, nausea , sensitivity to light ( photophobia ) and sounds that are caused by migraine. Among the drugs usually prescribed are sumatriptan (Imigran ®).
Side effects of triptans include nausea, dizziness, and muscle weakness . These medicines are not recommended for people at risk of heart attack and stroke .

A combination drug with ergotamine and caffeine has a lower price but is less effective than triptans. Efficacy is greatest in patients whose pain lasts for more than 48 hours.

Anti-nausea medications
Since migraine is often accompanied by nausea and sometimes vomiting, medication for motion sickness is indicated and is usually combined with other medications. Among the most commonly prescribed drugs are metoclopramide (Plasil ®).

Drugs containing narcotics, especially codeine, can be used to treat migraine pain when people can not take triptans or ergotamine. Narcotics are addictive and are usually taken only as a last resort.

This corticosteroid  may be used in combination with other medicines to reduce pain. Due to the risk of steroid toxicity, dexamethasone should not be used frequently.



Preventive medication

Those who suffer from two or more debilitating attacks per month may resort to preventative therapy if the headache is resistant to pain medications, or if the signs and symptoms of migraine cause numbness and weakness.
A preventative medicine can reduce the frequency, severity and duration of headaches and may increase the effectiveness of medications to relieve symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend preventive medications daily or only when a predictable factor, such as the menstrual cycle, approaches .
In most cases, preventive medications do not completely eliminate severe pain and some side effects.

If the patient gets good results with preventive medicine and remains without a migraine for a period of six months to a year, the doctor may recommend avoiding the medications to see if the headaches come back.
For best results, take the following medicines recommended by your doctor:

Cardiovascular Drugs
Beta blockers are often used to treat coronary artery hypertension but may reduce the frequency and severity of migraine. Propranolol is a beta-blocker that has given good results in the prevention of migraine.
In addition, antihypertensive drugs (for reducing blood pressure) such as lisinopril are useful in reducing the duration and severity of migraine. Researchers do not understand exactly why these cardiovascular medications can prevent migraine attacks. Side effects include: drowsiness or dizziness.

Certain antidepressants help prevent some types of headaches, including migraines. Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are often prescribed for the prevention of migraine.
Tricyclic antidepressants can reduce headaches because they act on the level of serotonin and other brain chemicals.
Only amitriptyline has been shown to be effective for migraine. You do not need to be depressed to get benefits from these medications.
Among other types of antidepressants are serotonin, reuptake inhibitors, but studies do not show good results in preventing migraine.

Antiepileptic drugs
Some antiepileptics such as sodium valproate (Depacon), topiramate (Topamax), and gabapentin appear to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. Caution is needed because high doses of these antiepileptic drugs can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting , diarrhea , cramps , hair loss and dizziness.

It is an antihistamine that changes the activity of serotonin. Doctors prescribe this medication proactively for children.

Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox)
The Food and Drug Administration has approved botulinum toxin type A for the treatment of chronic migraine in adults. Injections are performed on the muscles of the face and neck.
When the injection is effective, treatment should be repeated regularly every 12 weeks.

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