How do beta blockers help prevent migraines?

Beta blockers, such as propranolol and timolol, are used in preventive treatment of migraines.

These drugs work by blocking the effect of certain hormones associated with stress, reducing blood pressure and heart rate. The means by which they reduce migraine frequency is not completely understood, but they have been shown to halve the frequency of migraines.  However, there are potential side effects, such as fatigue, depression, slow heart rhythms (bradycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), and breathing problems. Beta blockers should never be discontinued abruptly. Also, they are usually not recommended for people with asthma, insulin-dependent diabetes, or heart failure, and their effect on pregnancy women and their babies is unknown.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.