6 Commonly Known Classes of Medications for Migraine Explained

Migraine is a very common headache disorder, with moderate to severe headaches that can last anywhere from a couple of hours to more than a couple of days. These are chronic headaches which are recurring and thus cause major discomfort. The symptoms which follow severe migraines include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, strong smell, or even loud sound.

The causes of migraines are mainly linked to genetic factors and certain triggers as follows:

Genetic factors
Genetic influence is a major factor which causes migraines; these are known as gene disorders which affect the severity of migraines. It is estimated that nearly 51% of the migraines caused are due to genetics and gene disorders.

Certain triggers like fatigue are major causes of a migraine; however, there are some psychological, dietary, and environmental triggers which all combined cause this discomfort. Psychological triggers include stress, hunger and mainly fatigue which results in tension headaches that can be quite severe if left unchecked. Dietary triggers stem from certain foods we consume on a daily basis, which might be too much or too little for that matter. Not having a proper diet balance can trigger splitting headaches. Environment triggers can be both indoor as well as outdoor, but the factors which cause these migraines are not certain.

Medications for migraine
Different classes of common drugs and their possible side effects are listed below. These medications should not be taken without a prescription and should be taken in the dosage quantities as advised by your doctor depending on the symptoms.

  • Antimigraine agents: This class of medication is generally used to treat migraines, which are caused due to aura and the resulting symptoms include nausea, vomiting, or extreme sensitivity to light. Pain relieving drugs mainly for antimigraine agents are included in the class of ergots, triptans and NSAID’s (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug).
  • NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as the name suggests, are a class of drugs which are anti-inflammatory and mainly reduce inflammation. These also act as analgesics that reduce pain and as antipyretic that lower body temperatures. These are main indicators of the effects of NSAIDs. COX enzymes, which are a form of NSAIDs, that have two distinct functions: COX 1 produces prostaglandins which activate the platelets and COX 2 releases enzymes to enable prostaglandins to regulate the inflammation. These are pain relieving agents for migraine and its symptoms, but may not be a necessary target approach and recommended by medical professionals in small dosage only. Check with your doctor before using these.
  • Analgesic combinations: These combinations mainly work together to reduce and relieve pain, which contains more than two or more analgesics that have different modes of targeted pain relief. This is one of the major components found in antimigraine agents for medications for migraine.
  • Central nervous system agents: Found in migraine medications, these agents, as the name aptly suggest, affect the central nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord. These agents trigger a response to treat any medical condition, in this case, medications for migraine. Very few medications for migraine have these nervous system agents as most will have NSAIDs and analgesic compounds.
  • GI stimulants: GI stands for gastrointestinal stimulants and do not necessarily provide a targeted relief for migraine, but can be used as a part of the treatment course recommended by medical professionals. Since there are a number of dietary triggers that cause migraine discomforts, GI stimulants medications might offer some relief, but may not be as effective as target medications for migraines.
  • Antihistamines: This class of medication is mainly used to treat allergic reactions, colds, fever, anxiety, and sleep disorders amongst others. Psychological triggers of migraine include stress, hunger, and fatigue which can be identified from the various treatments of antihistamines. Therefore, this course of medication for a migraine can be recommended by medical professionals. Again, this is not a targeted approach, but an option to prescribe along with commonly used medications for a migraine.

Preventive therapy for migraine has proven quite effective for patients who suffer from recurrent migraines. There are no specific drugs that can provide a targeted approach and relief for recurrent migraines, but a number of preventive medications for migraine include those which fall under the above classes including ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, common antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and a couple of herbal-based medications also.

Since the dosage of various classes of medications for migraines will differ for varied symptoms, these might have a couple of side effects of their own. It is advisable to consult regularly with your doctor who will recommend some combinations of medications that just might prove effective for recurrent and other common types of migraine including migraine with aura, migraine without aura, migraine aura without headache, basilar migraine, hemiplegic migraine, ophthalmologic migraine and vestibular migraine.

More information about symptoms, causes, certain home and natural remedies for medications for migraine can be found online across major medical websites and journals. But at the end of the day, it is advisable to consult with your doctor for an effective course of treatment.

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