When should you start preventive treatment for Migraine?
Migraine is a common and very unpleasant condition, affecting around 1 in 5 Australians. For some people, it’s only an occasional thing, and doesn’t have too great an impact on daily life. For others it can be frequent and debilitating- causing pain, misery and time off work. Migraine headaches are usually severe, throbbing, and often involve one side of the head. Nausea, vomiting, and an aversion to light and noise are often present. If you think you have migraine, but have never spoken to a doctor about your headaches, it is important to do so- to make sure that your diagnosis is correct and that your treatment is appropriate.
Most people start with simple painkillers like Paracetamol (Panadol), anti-inflammatories (like Nurofen or Voltaren), or combination medications (like Paracetamol + Codeine). Triptans are also commonly prescribed by doctors- these drugs are specifically designed to treat migraine attacks- common brands are Imigran and Zomig. But sometimes these medications are not enough to effectively treat migraine- the attacks may get more severe or more frequent over time.
So when is it time to change to a daily medication to prevent migraine?
Daily medication to prevent migraine is often considered by a doctor if a person has:
- More than 2 migraine attacks per month that significantly affect daily life
- Less frequent but more severe migraine attacks
- Frequent use of painkillers or triptan medicines to treat migraine attacks
- Painkillers or triptans are not effective, or the person is unable to take them because of side-effects or other problems
- Migraine due to medication over-use headache ( for more information click here )
Before starting preventive treatment, it’s a good idea to keep a migraine diary for a few months to assess:
- How often and how bad your migraine attacks are.
- A record of all medication used to treat the migraine attacks
- How well the medication works on each occasion
- Any possible triggers ( for more info on migraine triggers, click here )
There are many types of drugs that can be used to prevent migraine, and you may need to try more than one option before you find the best one for you. Whilst preventive or “prophylactic” medication may not stop all attacks, the number and severity will often be reduced very significantly.
Once diagnosis and treatment of migraine are in place, you may require ongoing prescriptions. It is now possible to safely and simply get repeat prescriptions for certain migraine treatments from an online doctor such as qoctor – a handy way to save time and and avoid the crowded doctor’s waiting room.