Treatments for migraine headaches include taking pain-relieving medications, such as triptans and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and preventive medications, including antidepressants, antiseizure and cardiovascular drugs, states Mayo Clinic. Getting an adequate amount of sleep and engaging in relaxation exercises, such as yoga and meditation, may also be helpful.
Pain relievers for migraine headaches include acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin; however, they may cause medication-related headaches, ulcers and intestinal bleeding if used for long periods, according to Mayo Clinic. Triptans, such as almotriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan and sumatriptan, narrow blood vessels in the brain, blocking pain signals. The drugs may cause sleepiness, dizziness, muscle weakness and nausea. People who have had heart attacks and stroke should not take such medications.
Migraines normally occur with nausea, so taking certain prescription medications together with antinausea drugs, such as prochlorperazine, chlorpromazine and metoclopramide, may help relieve symptoms, explains Mayo Clinic. Other pain-relieving medications include glucocorticoids and opioid medications.
Preventive therapy may be necessary if the headaches cause numbness or last for more than 12 hours, if the problem occurs at least four times per month or if pain-relieving medications fail to counter the problem, according to Mayo Clinic. Tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help prevent the frequency of the problem. Cardiovascular drugs treat coronary artery disease and hypertension, preventing the problem as well. Antiseizure drugs reduce severity of the headaches, but they may cause memory problems, diarrhea and weight loss.