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Best Migraine Prevention Medicines

Migraine headaches are a destructive part of life for nearly 11 out of 100 people. During migraine episodes, they can barely function. They curtail daily activities, and all of life seems distorted. Between episodes, they may feel anxious about the next one, and wish for some form of migraine prevention.

Although guaranteed migraine prevention seems to be more a promise than a reality as of the writing of this article, you do have options for treating symptoms, and, better yet, options for possible migraine prevention.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Although migraines seem to run in families, migraine prevention does not always run in the same course. For some migraineurs, prevention is as simple as changing a few habits. For others, migraine prevention seems to require strong medication.

What are the best migraine prevention medicines for you? The ultimate answer must be decided by you and your physician. We offer here a number of medicines for consideration.

Common Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines

This is the first line of migraine prevention – beginning at the minimal strength, minimal dosage to see if it will be a solution. Among these migraine prevention medicines are the following.

1. Aspirin in a regimen dose, i.e., tiny 81 mg tablets, commonly called “baby aspirin”. For migraine prevention, these would be taken daily, just as they are to reduce risks of heart disease.

2. Ibuprofen such as Motrin, Nuprin, or Advil may be taken occasionally. Your physician will advise as to how often you should take ibuprofen for migraine prevention. People with active stomach ulcers or sensitive stomachs will not want to use ibuprofen, since it has aspirin-like effects. If you take ibuprofen, take it with food to minimize the effect. You should also be aware that ibuprofen has a blood thinning effect that can reduce the effectiveness of some blood pressure medicines and diuretics.

3. Naproxen may be effective for you, under its more common name, Aleve. This medicine may reduce the number of your migraines, but is not likely to give total migraine prevention.

4. A fourth OTC pain reliever you may want to try at the first sign of a migraine is Excedrin Migraine.

Ask your doctor before taking any of these regularly for migraine prevention.

Common Prescription Medicines

If OTC medicines fail to provide the degree of migraine prevention you seek, you may want to try a prescription medicine. Prescription strength pain relievers have been found to reduce the number of migraine episodes for more than half of all migraineurs. A few of the many prescription medicines available to you are listed here.

1. Ponstel, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Naprelan, and Topamax. Topamax claims to be the U.S. #1 prescribed brand for migraine prevention. Prescription strength Naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Naprelan) thins the blood, so your physician may not choose this as a fit for you if you are taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants. Naproxen can have adverse gastrointestinal side effects also, so you should not use it if you have an active ulcer or sensitive stomach. Most doctors believe it is better to use medicines of this type continuously over a period of time to build up the effectiveness and provide ongoing migraine prevention rather than just pain relief.

2. Another class of prescription medicines that may give migraine prevention is Beta-blockers. These drugs, more often used to reduce high blood pressure, are sometimes helpful in cutting down on the number of migraine episodes. Of those that may give effective migraine prevention are inderal, Lopressor, metoprolol, nadolol, and timolol.

3. Physicians are gradually learning that antidepressants also provide migraine prevention for some patients. It is believed that this is due to the medicines’ effects on serotonin, the brain’s chemical messenger that influences migraine.

Which Size Is Right for You?

There are many other medicines, both prescription and non-prescription that are thought to provide a measure of migraine prevention. Like shopping for a new pair of dress shoes, you may have to try several before you find the one or two that work for you. Be sure to do your migraine prevention “shopping” with a health care provider, as he or she will know the possible side effects or interactions with medication you are already taking.

©2007, Anna Hart. Member of a “migraine family” and sympathizer with all migraineurs, Anna invites you to read more of her articles about the prevention of migraine headaches at You won’t want to miss Anna’s flip-side insights and perspectives on the best migraine prevention without medicines.