Contrary to popular belief, migraine is not just a bad headache. It’s a serious, often incapacitating, neurological disease.
In addition to serious pain, migraine can also cause nausea or vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light, sounds and smell.
Nearly 40 million people in the United States live with this debilitating health problem, but since not every migraine sufferer experiences migraine in the same way, finding the right treatment approach can be challenging.
In fact, finding a fast-acting, easy-to-use treatment that does not aggravate migraine symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting, can feel like an uphill battle.
Starting a dialogue with your healthcare provider is the first step in finding a migraine treatment that works for you. Here are some questions that might help set you on the right path to finding migraine relief.
There are so many migraine treatments available. How do I know which one is right for me?
Treatment choices for acute migraine should be based on headache severity, migraine frequency, associated symptoms and any underlying conditions. It’s important to let your healthcare provider know if your migraine causes nausea or vomiting as it may interfere with taking an oral medication. There are several different categories of acute treatments for migraines, two of the most common being analgesics and triptans.6 Analgesics are considered nonspecific migraine medications as they work on pain symptoms in general, while triptans are one type of migraine medication that specifically targets migraine.6 Triptans are the main class of drug used for the acute treatment of migraine and tend to work well if administered early in the course of a migraine attack.
How do I know if my migraine medication is working successfully?
A good way to tell if your acute medication is working is to ask yourself these questions:
- Are you pain-free within two hours?
- Are you functioning normally in 3-4 hours?
- Does your migraine respond to treatment consistently at least 50% of the time?
- Are you always able to swallow or keep down your acute medication?
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, then you and your healthcare provider may want to reassess your treatment plan.
I experience nausea with my migraine so taking an oral medicine is difficult. I need a medicine that works fast — what are some of my options?
You’re not alone. Sometimes an oral medication is sub-optimal, particularly for patients that experience migraine with nausea or vomiting. Surveys have revealed that as many as 90% of migraine sufferers experience these symptoms, and many find it more difficult to take and thus absorb oral medication. Patients who can’t take oral medication should consider asking their healthcare provider for an alternative treatment.
With the many treatment options available for the acute treatment of migraine, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about which treatment is right for you.