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Migraines and Other Headaches - Prevention - Migraine Prevention Medications

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Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have more than two migraine headaches a month?
  • Do I have migraines that severely disrupt my life?
  • Are the medications I am taking to relieve my headaches ineffective?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, your doctor may be willing to prescribe preventive medications. It is up to you whether or not you want to take a pill every day. Sometimes, after taking preventive medication for about six months or so, your doctor will help you to taper off the medication. Many people are able to stay off it for good.

The following medications are commonly used for young people. They are safe when prescribed by a medical doctor. They are listed with their scientific names first. The trade names are in parentheses.

One migraine prevention drug is an antihistamine called cyproheptadine (Periactin). People usually take this medication at bedtime. Teens sometimes have good luck with small doses of tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil). Another helpful class of preventive drugs are beta blockers. Doctors originally used these medications to control high blood pressure. They help to prevent migraine headaches by stabilizing the blood vessels and regulating blood flow to the brain. Examples of these medications are propranalol (Inderal), nadolol (Corgard), and atenolol (Tenormin).

There is help available for migraine sufferers, and new drugs are appearing every year. Medication, in combination with wellness strategies, can greatly reduce the suffering caused by migraine headaches.

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