What they are and how they work

Migraine is a neurological condition that results in recurrent headaches characterized by severe throbbing or pulsating pain. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 12 percent of people in the United States suffer from migraines.

There are two types of migraine treatment: abortive and preventive. Abortive treatments work to stop a migraine attack, while preventive treatments are aimed at preventing additional migraines.

There are different types of medications that are used as abortive migraine treatments. Read on to learn what they are, how they work, and more.

Abortive migraine drugs are used to relieve the symptoms of a migraine attack when it occurs. You can also see abortive migraine medications known as acute migraine medications.

These drugs are most effective when taken at the beginning of a migraine attack. For this reason, it is important to take them as soon as you start feeling the symptoms of migraines appear.

The specific type of recommended abortion medication depends on several factors. This includes things like the severity, frequency, and symptoms of your migraines.

Now let’s examine the different types of abortion treatments in more detail.

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs

A variety of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can be used to treat a migraine attack. Some examples are:

OTC drugs are usually used as one of the first-line treatments for migraines. They are taken as an oral pill or tablet.

These medications can usually help relieve mild migraines. However, if you have more severe migraine pain, they may not be as effective at relieving your symptoms.

The side effects of OTC abortive drugs depend on which one is used:

  • NSAIDs. Digestive side effects like upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea are some of the most common side effects of NSAIDs.
  • Paracetamol. Some people may experience an allergic reaction to acetaminophen. In rare cases, liver damage can occur.
  • Caffeine (in combination pills). Some possible side effects of caffeine are nervousness, nausea, and dizziness.


There are seven different types of triptans that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating migraines. They include:

  • Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • Rizatriptan (Maxalt)
  • Zolmitriptan (Zomig)
  • Almotriptan (Axert)
  • Eletriptan (Relpax)
  • Naratriptan (Amerge)
  • Frovatriptan (Frova)

Triptans come in many different forms, including:

  • a pill or capsule
  • a tablet or wafer that you dissolve on your tongue
  • a nasal spray
  • an injection

Triptans are the preferred first-line abortion treatment for migraine pain that is moderate to severe in intensity. You will likely be prescribed a triptan if over-the-counter medications have not been effective in relieving your migraine symptoms.

Some of the most common side effects of triptans are:

  • fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pains (myalgia)
  • a feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest, jaw, or throat
  • a feeling of heaviness in the limbs

Ergot derivatives

There are two types of ergot derivatives that are used as abortive migraine treatments. These are dihydroergotamine (Migranal) and ergotamine tartrate.

Root grain derivatives are often used as a second-line treatment for miscarriages. For example, you may be prescribed a ergot derivative if your migraine attacks do not respond well to over-the-counter medications or triptans.

Mother grain derivatives, similar to triptans, come in a variety of forms, such as:

  • a pill or capsule
  • a tablet or wafer that you dissolve on your tongue
  • a nasal spray
  • an injection

Some of the possible side effects of ergot derivatives are:

Anti-nausea medication

Some people may experience migraines that come with nausea. For this reason, some different anti-nausea medications, also called anti-emetics, can be prescribed in combination with an OTC drug, triptan, or an ergot derivative.

Nausea medications are usually taken orally. Some examples of medications that can be used for migraines include:

  • Metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • Prochlorperazine (Compazin)
  • Chlorpromazine (thorazine)

Possible side effects of anti-nausea medication can include:

In rare cases, a group of symptoms called extrapyramidal symptoms may appear with these drugs. Extrapyramidal symptoms can include tremors, involuntary muscle contractions, and involuntary movements.

Lasmiditan (Reyvow)

Lasmiditan (Reyvow) is a newer abortive migraine drug that was approved by the FDA in October 2019. It is taken orally as a pill or capsule.

Some of the most common side effects of Lasmiditan are:

  • fatigue
  • sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • Paresthesia, a tingling sensation

Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy)

Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) is another new type of migraine abortion drug. It was approved by the FDA in December 2019. It is taken orally as a pill or capsule.

The most common side effects of Ubrogepant are:

Now that we’ve covered the different types of medication for migraines, let’s take a look at how each type works.

OTC drugs

The OTC drugs that are used in abortive migraine treatment have different mechanisms of action:

  • NSAIDs. NSAIDs work by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) 1 and 2. This blocks the production of chemicals called prostaglandins that contribute to pain and inflammation.
  • Paracetamol. The exact mode of action of acetaminophen to relieve symptoms such as pain and inflammation has yet to be determined.
  • Caffeine (in combination pills). Caffeine can tighten or constrict blood vessels. This can reduce blood flow to the brain and relieve migraine symptoms. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.


Triptans work by binding to certain types of receptors in the brain that are specific for the neurotransmitter serotonin.

When triptans bind to these receptors, the blood vessels in the brain narrow. This reduces the pain signaling. Triptans can also reduce levels of inflammation.

Ergot derivatives

Ergot derivatives work similarly to triptans in that they bind to certain serotonin receptors in the brain. This constricts the blood vessels and reduces pain signaling.

However, ergot derivatives are less specific than triptans and may also bind to other receptors. Because of this, they often have more side effects than triptans.

Anti-nausea medication

The common types of nausea medications used for migraines work by blocking a certain type of receptor in the brain. These are receptors that are specific for the neurotransmitter dopamine.

When these drugs bind to the dopamine receptor, they help prevent nausea or vomiting.

Lasmiditan (Reyvow)

Lasmiditan (Reyvow) works by targeting a specific serotonin receptor in the brain called 5-HT 1F. It is the first type of migraine medication that does this.

The exact mechanism by which lasmiditan relieves acute migraine symptoms is unknown.

In contrast to triptans and ergot derivatives, Lasmiditan does not cause blood vessels to constrict. This can make it a good treatment option for people with health problems that affect blood vessels.

Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy)

Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) inhibits a receptor called the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor. It is the first type of migraine abortion drug to work through this mechanism.

Ubrogepant prevents CGRP from binding to its receptor. When this happens, it helps stop the pain and vasodilation associated with migraines.

There are also several ways you can prevent a migraine attack in the first place. Let’s look at these now.

Know and avoid your triggers

For many people, migraines occur in response to various triggers. Some examples of migraine triggers are:

Knowing your triggers and avoiding them can help prevent migraines from occurring. Depending on your specific migraine triggers, this usually involves certain lifestyle changes such as:

Take preventive medication

In addition to abortive drugs, you can also take preventive drugs for migraines. When taken as directed, these medications can help prevent migraines.

Some examples of preventive migraine medications include:

Try supplements

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, several types of supplements can help prevent migraines. These are:

If you want to add nutritional supplements to your migraine treatment plan, speak with your doctor first. They can let you know about possible side effects or interactions with your current medication.

Migraines cause recurring headaches with an intense throbbing or throbbing pain. This usually only affects one side of the head. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells.

Some people may also have a number of symptoms called an aura, which appear before they have a migraine attack. Some examples of aura symptoms are:

  • Visual disturbances, such as seeing bright spots or partial loss of vision
  • Tingling of the face or hands
  • Muscle weakness affecting one side of the body
  • Difficulty speaking, such as B. Murmurs or slurred speech

Migraine attacks can be triggered by a variety of triggers, including stress, hormonal changes, or sudden weather changes. Without treatment, a migraine attack can last between 4 and 72 hours.

The exact cause of the migraines is unknown. Changes in certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, are thought to play a role.

Abortion drugs work to relieve the symptoms of a migraine attack. They are most effective when taken early. So take them as soon as you experience symptoms.

Typically, the first-line treatments for migraines are OTC drugs or triptans. Other medications can be used if they do not relieve your symptoms. You can also take medication to relieve the nausea associated with migraines.

It is important that you take your abortion medications exactly as your doctor has directed. If you find that you need to take them more than 3 times a week, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss this.

What they are and how they work was seen on https://americanchiropractors.org

from American Chiropractors Directory and News – Feed https://www.americanchiropractors.org/headaches/what-they-are-and-how-they-work/

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