In the U.S. alone, more than 4 million people suffer from chronic migraines. Many of these people miss work and cannot function normally during a migraine attack. Despite how common and how debilitating migraines can be, many migraine sufferers do not seek treatment though there are a few treatment options available.
The Best Medicine for Migraines
Pain-relieving medications, which are sometimes called acute or abortive treatments, can be taken at the first sign of a migraine attack. There are a few different types of medications used to treat migraines:
- Analgesics. These are over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen and is a good option for patients suffering from mild migraine systems.
- Triptans. Until December of 2019, triptans were the only class of medications used to treat the chronic headaches caused by migraines. Triptans are a migraine-specific medication designed to treat moderate to severe migraine attacks. This is the strongest migraine medicine, but unfortunately, there are quite a few side effects and often leave patients feeling uncomfortable.
- Ergot alkaloids. These medications are rare and usually only used when patients do not respond to analgesics or triptans.
- UBRELVY™. At the end of 2019, the FDA approved a new drug, UBRELVY™, which has minimal to nonexistent side effects.
How Does UBRELVY™ Work?
UBRELVY™ targets head pain and the associated signs of migraines such as light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and nausea. Although it may feel like your brain is in pain during a migraine, there are no pain fibers in the brain. Migraine pain comes from the layers between the skull and the brain, which is where this new medication is most effective.
Researchers have discovered that at certain protein attaches to sensory nerve endings. During a migraine attack, the level of this protein is much higher than it normally should be. UBRELVY™ works by blocking this protein from attaching to the sensory nerve endings. During clinical trials, the majority of patients reported pain relief, and 20% reported total pain freedom. Many also reported relief from complex migraine symptoms.
Medications can prevent frequent migraines, and your doctor might recommend preventative medications if you suffer from frequent or severe headaches. The following can be taken to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks:
- High blood pressure medications
- Anti-seizure medications
- Botox injections into the head and neck muscles
Developing a Migraine Treatment Plan
What helps migraines varies from patient to patient. Overall, there is no universal method for managing migraines, but there are abortive and preventative treatments that can help. It’s important to team up with a headache specialist to come up with the best migraine treatment plan for you.
What to take for migraines depends on several different factors, so your doctor will take into account the frequency and severity of migraines, the presence of underlying medical conditions such as vascular disease, and the level of disability caused by your migraines.
Although there is no cure for migraines, your doctor can help you manage migraine attacks so you get them less often and less severely. If you suffer from frequent headaches, talk to your doctor today about setting up a migraine management plan. Even though many cases of migraines are left untreated, there are several viable options that can help you manage your pain and get back to your everyday life.