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How can antinausea medication help in migraine headache treatment?

Migraine attacks often activate the sympathetic nervous system, which is probably best known for its role in the "fight or flight" response. Activating the sympathetic nervous system affects the stomach and intestines, as well as other parts of the body. As a result, nausea and vomiting often accompany migraine headaches, which prevent you from keeping down your medications. Even when vomiting does not occur, the stomach takes longer to empty into the intestines once the sympathetic nervous system is activated—which can impair the absorption of oral medications.

Your doctor may recommend a prescription antinausea medication to help in the treatment of migraine headaches. Several options exist. The phenothiazines suppress nausea and—because they have sedative effects—also help you sleep. The antinausea medication metoclopramide (Reglan) helps empty the stomach, thereby improving the absorption of oral headache medications. Many people find it particularly effective to take metoclopramide at the first hint of a migraine headache and then, about 15 minutes later, to take the first dose of headache medication. Virtually all the antinausea drugs are available in several forms. If you can't take them by mouth, you can try rectal suppositories and, in extreme cases, injections.

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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.