How are migraines managed medically?

26 June 2011

Question

Dear Dr Smith
 
Could you please advise me as to developments in pain research?
 
For some 10 years my wife has suffered from chronic daily headache together with periodic migraines [i.e. she has had a permanent severe headache 24/7 for 10 years!].
 
Are there, for example, any scientific advances in, say, genetic research; stem sell research; or anything else that might give my wife some hope of eventual relief?
 
Your advice would be deeply appreciated
 
With best wishes
 
Doug

Answer

Classic painkillers, things like ibuprofen, aspirin and paracetamol, can help dull the pain of migraine, just like any other pain. For many people though these drugs really aren't enough. A really odd selection of drugs have been shown to help prevent migraines in the first place actually, things like beta blockers which are generally use to prevent heart attacks and lower blood pressure, anticonvulsant drugs, and even some antidepressants. So, how these drugs help is a bit of a mystery in some cases. Many migraines sufferers still have to go to great lengths to avoid their migraine triggers.

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