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Migraine headaches, often calledmigraines, are a common neurologic condition that can negatively impact an individual’s quality of life. According to the National Headache Foundation and the American Migraine Study, approximately 30 million individuals in the United States are affected by migraines. Migraines are most common among individuals aged 25 to 50 years, and migraines are 3 times more common in females than in males.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom associated with migraines is a throbbing pain on 1 side of the head. The signs and symptoms vary among individuals and may include:
Cause and Common Triggers
While the exact cause of migraines is not known, several triggers have been identified, including:
Testing and Diagnosis
If you suspect you are having a migraine headache, your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms as well as conduct physical and neurologic exams. Other medical tests may be ordered to rule out other medical conditions.
The best way to prevent migraines is to take your medication at the first sign of a migraine or before being exposed to a known trigger. Several lifestyle modifications may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, including:
You can ease the pain and discomfort associated with migraines by:
Treatment and Care
Medications used for managing migraines are typically classified as preventive medications or pain-relieving medications. Treatment is determined by the frequency and severity of your migraines, the cause of your migraines, and your other medical conditions.
Homeopathic and Alternative Remedies
Many individuals may elect to use alternative remedies for migraine prevention and relief, including:
Several OTC products are marketed for the treatment of mild to moderate migraines. These products contain analgesics such as acetaminophen (APAP), ibuprofen, and aspirin (ASA), as well as caffeine. Self-treatment of migraines is only recommended after a diagnosis has been confirmed. To prevent drug interactions, contraindications or adverse reactions, it is important to discuss the use of these products with your doctor or pharmacist before using them.
Resources for Patients
Resources for Pharmacists