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Advice for Migraine


Treatment advice for Migraine


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between a Migraine and a tension/anxiety headache?

    • A migraine headache is usually an intense, throbbing pain on one, or sometimes both, sides of the head.
    • Most people with a migraine headache feel the pain in the temples or behind one eye or ear, although any part of the head can be involved.
    • Besides pain, migraine also can cause a number of other symptoms; nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light and sound can all occur. Some people also may see spots or flashing lights or have a temporary loss of vision.
    • Migraine can occur any time of the day, though it often starts in the morning.
    • The pain can last a few hours or up to 72 hours. Some people get migraines once or twice a week whereas others may only suffer once or twice a year.
    • A tension headache is usually a mild to moderate pain, it's distracting but not debilitating. It affects both sides of the head and rarely causes sensitivity to light.
  • What are Triptans?

    Triptans are the newest and most popular type of migraine treatment. They include almotriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and are available as various different branded and generic migraine treatments from our Online Pharmacy.

    Triptans work by constricting the widened (dilated) blood vessels in the brain that are thought to occur during a migraine. They may also stabilise the changes in activity of some brain chemicals that occur during a migraine attack. Tripans are an 'as required' migraine treatment; they are only taken when necessary to treat a migraine attack. Triptans can help to to halt the onset of migraine symptoms if it is taken at the correct time, at the beginning of the headache phase.

  • I didn’t get on with my first Migraine treatment. Is one Triptan better than another?

    There is no best migraine treatment that suits everyone. All Triptans would probably work well in most people with migraine. However, there is some evidence to suggest that some are slightly more effective than others; but also, that side effects may vary between each different Triptan and each can have different levels of effectiveness in separate individuals. 

    Therefore, if the first Triptan you try does not work as well as desired, or causes side effects, after three seperate attempts it is definitely worth trying a different Triptan that may be more suited to you.

  • Can I use a Triptan to prevent a Migraine attack?

    You should take your triptan as you start to feel a slight headache develop and not before. Triptans are effective at treating a migraine in its early stages and can prevent a full-blown attack, however they are not preventatives and should not be taken before a migraine occurs. Triptans are designed to work rapidly - within an hour or so, to treat migraines quickly.

  • What should I do when I feel a Migraine starting?

    When migraine symptoms begin:

    • If you have a Triptan, take it as soon as you feel a headache.
    • Take painkillers or antisickness medication if necessary.
    • Drink fluids, if you don't have nausea during your migraine.
    • Lie down and rest in a dark, quiet room (if that is practical).
  • How is Migraine diagnosed?

    There are no objective tests for migraine; the diagnosis is on the basis of the history and pattern of symptoms over time as well as response to any drug treatments tried. This is why keeping a migraine diary can be helpful.

    Things that should be covered in a migraine diary are:

    • How often you have headaches.
    • Where the pain occurs.
    • How long the headaches last.
    • When the headaches happen (such as during your period or due to other external stimuli).
    • Other symptoms that occur (such as nausea or blind spots).
    • Any family history of migraine.
    • Any medicines you are taking, even the over-the-counter medicines & supplements.
    • Any medicines you have taken to treat your symptoms and how effective they were.
  • Is Migraine more common in women or men?

    Migraines are most common in females; 75% of migraine sufferers are women. There is no known cause for the difference in migraine occurrence between the sexes.

  • What is the best treatment for nausea and vomiting when you get a Migraine?

    Nausea causes poor absorption of tablets into your body and many people find it hard to take tablet treatments when they are experiencing nausea.

    Prochlorperazine (Buccastem) is an effective and fast-acting anti-sickness treatment. It comes in a buccal tablet form; it dissolves between the gum and cheek, without the need to swallow. This can be useful if you feel sick and do not wish to swallow a tablet. Anti-sickness medicines work best if you take them as soon as possible after symptoms begin.

    If you take painkillers, they may remain in your stomach if you are experiencing nausea and vomiting. This means they will not be absorbed well and you may even bring the tablets back up. If this is the case, use soluble (dissolvable) painkillers. These are absorbed more quickly from your stomach and are likely to work better. You can take anti-sickness treatment in addition to painkillers. 

  • What is a medicine-induced headache?

    Taking painkillers or Triptans too often for tension-type headaches or migraine attacks can cause a condition known as medication-induced headache. It is also known as a medication-overuse headache.

    It is a common cause of headaches that occur daily, or on most days. About 1 in 50 people develop this problem at some time in their life. If you find that you are getting headaches on most days and you are regularly taking Triptans or painkillers then you should discuss this with your doctor.

  • Can changes in blood sugar levels be a trigger for Migraines?

    Changing blood sugar levels can be a trigger for migraines. To keep blood sugar levels stable try to ensure you:

    • Always eat breakfast - even if it is just a piece of fruit and an oatcake.
    • Aim to eat little (but well balanced) meals often, rather than one or two large meals a day. If you need to eat between meals, snack on healthy foods with low sugar content (nuts and dried fruit, oatcakes and hummus or plain bio yoghurt with nuts and seeds).
    • Mix carbohydrate with protein and/or fat to increase the slow release energy (e.g. wholemeal toast and peanut butter is better than white bread and jam).
    • If you feel like chocolate or biscuits, try a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts and raisins instead.
  • I've heard that if I stop eating chocolate I should be able to control my Migraines?

    It is a well-known myth that if you avoid chocolate, cheese and red wine, you won't get migraine.  Although these can all be triggers for migraines, there are many different triggers and what may affect one person does not necessarily affect another. 

    For most people it is not just one trigger but a combination of factors which can trigger a migraine attack. Read the ‘Causes’ section above for more information on common trigger factors.

  • If I have a parent who suffers with Migraines does that mean I will too?

    There may be a genetic predisposition to migraine, as it does tend to run in families although not everyone in the family will suffer with them. There are many factors involved in the occurrence of migraines, not all of which are understood. There will usually be a number of factors influencing whether you develop migraines, not just your family history.


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