Start early with effective medicines to relieve an impending migraine and consider preventative medicines if your migraines are frequent or severe. This is the guidance in a new Australian Prescriber article in which Dr Bronwyn Jenkins from the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney reviews Australian guidelines for headache management.
Migraines are the leading cause of disability in people under 50 years old. More than just a headache, migraines may come with nausea and sensitivity to light or noise.
“Firstly, it is important to try to avoid things that trigger your migraines,” says Dr Jenkins.
“Dietary triggers may include alcohol, cheese, oranges and chocolate. Caffeine overuse and dehydration can also provoke migraine.
“Next, remember it is important to act early when you feel a migraine coming on. An over-the-counter pain reliever like paracetamol or aspirin can help. A class of medicines called triptans are more selective against migraine.
“Finally, if you have frequent or severe migraines, it may be time to talk to a health professional about medicines that help prevent migraine.
“All the medicines used to help prevent migraines were originally developed to treat something else. Your doctor may recommend using a medicine that was originally developed for high blood pressure, for depression or for epilepsy,” she says.
The article explains that if all these strategies to help with migraines fail, a series of Botox injections given by a neurologist may help. There are also some injectable antibodies that may help patients with migraine.
“Each person’s migraines are different. Your doctor can help find the best strategy for you to manage your migraines. Always remember, if you have any questions, it is OK to ask,” says Dr Jenkins.
Read the full Australian Prescriber article.
For more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a health professional, call Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) for the cost of a local call (calls from mobiles may cost more). Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEDT (excluding public holidays).