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What is the risk of using opioids for treating migraines during pregnancy?

Dawn Marcus
Neurology
Opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and methadone) have a very limited role in migraine and are generally reserved for migraine rescue therapy. Most opioids are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) risk category C drugs. If you use them, make sure your doctor monitors you carefully. Frequent use of opioids can result in medication overuse headaches. You can also become tolerant to opioids (that is, over time, it takes more medication to get the same effect). You might also experience withdrawal when you stop taking them.

You can also develop a dependency to opioids. Your baby might also develop an opioid dependency from your opioid use and go through withdrawal after birth. Women who have been regularly using daily opioids during mid-to-late pregnancy often need to continue daily opioids for the duration of pregnancy because of the risks to the baby from going through withdrawal before birth. It is safer for the baby to experience withdrawal symptoms after birth under the careful supervision of a pediatrician and hospital staff.
The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

Migraines are a common, controllable type of headache that affects one in every six women, more than 20 million in the United States alone. The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit helps readers take charge of...

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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.