Med Talk: Migraine Prevention
Migraine sufferers don’t need to be told how migraine negatively impacts quality of life – they know because they live with the debilitating effects of migraines every single day. Unfortunately, migraine is most common in men and women in their 30s and 40s, a time in life when most people are actively advancing their careers. Migraineurs generally miss about a week of work each year due to migraines.
Is Migraine Preventable?
Preventing migraines before they start is one way to gain back some quality of life and miss fewer work days. Some people are able to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches by altering their diet in order to reduce migraine triggers. However, diet regulation alone isn’t always a solution for people with chronic migraine. If diet and lifestyle changes don’t do much good for you, medication management could be an option for prevention of migraines.
Almost 40 percent of migraine sufferers could benefit from preventative medications, but only about a third of those will take advantage of preventative treatments. The reasons for this low number vary – some people who rather avoid pharmaceutical methods and would treat migraines as they arise. However, some migraine sufferers aren’t offered the preventative treatments that they deserve in order to prevent migraines.
The American Headache Society encourages health care providers to provide patients who would benefit from medication therapy with options for migraine prevention. These medications differ from the medications you take when you have a migraine because they are taken every day. Preventative medications are used to prevent the occurrence of migraines and reduce the frequency and severity when migraines do occur. Some people are able to reduce their number of migraine attacks by more than half when they take preventative medication.
What Types of Medications Work to Prevent Migraines?
The American Headache Society has published a list of medications that have been studied and shown success at preventing migraine headaches in people with chronic migraine.
Over-the-counter and complementary treatments:
- Petasites (an herbal preparation also known as butterbur)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as fenoprofen, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen and naproxen sodium
- Subcutaneous histamine
- MIG-99 (feverfew)
- The seizure drugs divalproex sodium, sodium valproate and topiramate
- The beta-blockers metoprolol, propranolol and timolol
Are All Migraines Preventable?
Anyone who suffers from migraines is encouraged to avoid migraine triggers and try migraine prevention therapies to the level with which they feel comfortable. Migraine prevention has helped many people, but unfortunately it’s not a cure all for everyone. For chronic migraine sufferers who aren’t able to get any migraine prevention despite trying multiple treatments, neurostimulation via surgical procedure may be a good option to treat migraines.
American Academy of Neurology, New Guidelines: Treatments Can Help Prevent Migraine. April 23, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.americanheadachesociety.org/assets/1/7/EMBARGOED_AAN_Migraine_Guidelines_Press_Kit.pdf
Migraine.com, Migraine and Quality of Life: An Introduction. 2016. Retrieved from: https://migraine.com/living-with-migraine/migraine-and-quality-of-life/