Preventative Migraine Medication
Preventative migraine medication is used in an attempt to reduce the frequency and severity of anticipated attacks. However, these drugs are unlikely to prevent attacks altogether and will not cure the underlying cause.
The goal of preventative treatments is to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks. They are normally prescribed in one of the following circumstances:
- If you suffer from more than two or three attacks per month
- If your attacks are particularly severe or disabling and do not respond well to acute treatments
- To break the cycle of attacks
- If your attacks follow a regular pattern (e.g. around the time of menstruation)
- If you suffer from rare forms of migraine such as basilar or hemiplegic migraine
Preventives are taken daily for a period of six to twelve months and while they rarely actually prevent attacks altogether, their success rate of about 50-60% means that it is likely you will experience at least some benefit. Preventatives will not be beneficial in treating an attack once it has started. Acute treatment is then necessary.
Some preventatives work better in one person than in another, so if one does not work well, it does not mean that another will not work.
The most commonly used migraine preventives include:
- Beta Blockers
- Anti-Epilepsy agents (Anti-Convulsants)
- PLEASE NOTE Sodium Valproate (Epilim), should not be used in female children, in female adolescents, in women of childbearing potential and pregnant women, this is particularly important, given the significant teratogenic (increase risk of birth defects) potential of the medicine. If you are taking Sodium Valproate (Epilim) please ensure your read the Patient Information Leaflet here. Valproate-Patient-Information-Booklet
- Calcium Channel Blockers
- Tricyclic Anti-Depressants
- 5-HT Antagonists*
For more information on any of the above, please call us on 1850-200-378 and request our Migraine Medications leaflet. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some tips for when you have been prescribed a Preventive:
- Complete the course of treatment prescribed and in the manner prescribed unless otherwise agreed with your doctor
- Report any side effects back to your doctor immediately
- Always bring your medication (preventive and acute) with you wherever you go
- Use your Migraine Diary to record the effectiveness of the drug
*Update Nov 2015: Sanomigran (Pizotifen) has been discontinued in Ireland or the UK.