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What medications are used to treat migraine?

Dr. Dawn Marcus
Neurologist

Medications used to treat migraine include:

Infrequent migraines typically occurring less than 3 days per week:

  • Analgesics - aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen
  • Analgesics plus caffeine - Excedrin, ibuprofen, 1/2 can of cola
  • Triptan - sumatriptan, rizatriptan (Maxalt), zolmitriptan (Zomig), almotriptan (Axert)
  • Ergotamine - dihydroergotamine
  • Antinausea medication - metoclopramide (Reglan), promethazine (Phenergan), prochlorperazine (Companzine)

Frequent migraines typically occurring 3 or more days per week:

  • Antidepressants - amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Neuromodulating therapies - topiramate (Topamax), valproate (Depakote), gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Blood pressure medications - timolol (Blocadren), propranolol (Inderal), verapamil (Calan)

Drugs that reduce migraine frequency were initially tested for other health conditions. Effective migraine prevention drugs include therapies initially designed to improve mood, nerve diseases, and high blood pressure.

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Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Acetaminophen is available in combination with other drugs. The following combinations may be effective against migraines:

  • acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine (Excedrin Migraine)
  • acetaminophen, isometheptene, and dichloralphenazone (not FDA-approved)
  • butalbital, caffeine, and acetaminophen (for example, Fioricet, Fiorinal, Lanorinal)
  • acetaminophen and an opioid, such as codeine or oxycodone. Opioids have the potential to cause dependency or addiction. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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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.