Treatments

Migraine

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Overview

A migraine is a severe type of headache that consists of a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Some people experience auras (signs such as seeing light-flashes, zigzags, waves, or stars) before onset of their migraine as a warning sign. Migraines are common, particularly in women. They can last from four hours to three days. The frequency of migraines varies in each individual, from only occasionally to several times a week.

Causes

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but it is thought that migraines are induced by vessels in the brain temporarily dilating. Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors, such as stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, exhaustion, extreme stimulation of the senses, certain foods (e.g. alcohol and cheese) and certain medications.

Treatments

Sumatriptan

Overview:

Sumatriptan treats migraines with or without aura. This drug belongs to a class known as triptans. Triptans work by constricting the widened blood vessels that cause migraine, resulting in alleviation of migraine pain and symptoms. Sumatriptan is generally a well tolerated triptan and is available in a variety of dosage forms such as tablet, nasal spray or injection.

Directions:

Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Sumatriptan should be taken at the onset of a migraine, it will not work in preventing migraines, so do not take unless you have a migraine. If your headache returns after taking sumatriptan, you may take another tablet given that at least 2 hours has passed. Do not take another dose of sumatriptan if the first dose did not work at all. It may be used again for a future migraine. Do not take more than 300mg total of sumatriptan in 24 hours.

FAQ:

What is the difference between Imigran and Sumatriptan?

Imigran is the branded version. Sumatriptan is the generic version. Both contain the same active ingredient, sumatriptan, so both are medically equivalent but sumatriptan generic is available at a much lower cost.

How long does it take to work?

Between 30 to 60 minutes.

How long does it last?

Approximately 2 hours.

Can I take Sumatriptan with alcohol?

Sumatriptan may cause drowsiness or dizziness, therefore alcohol is not recommended as it could make the side effects worse.

 

Side Effects:

●     Dizziness

●     Flushing

●     Nausea & vomiting

●     Drowsiness

However, many of these side effects may also be due to the migraine itself.

Patient Information Leaflet (from EMC):

https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/1258/pil

Imigran

Overview:

Imigran contains an active ingredient called sumatriptan, which treats migraines. This drug belongs to a class known as triptans. Triptans work by constricting the widened blood vessels that cause migraine, resulting in alleviation of migraine pain and symptoms. Imigran is generally a well tolerated triptan and is available in a variety of dosage forms such as tablet, nasal spray or injection.

Directions:

Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Imigran should be taken at the onset of a migraine, it will not work in preventing migraines, so do not take unless you have a migraine. If your headache returns after taking imigran, you may take another tablet given that at least 2 hours has passed. Do not take another dose of imigran if the first dose did not work at all. It may be used again for a future migraine. Do not take more than 300mg total of imigran in 24 hours.

FAQ:

What is the difference between Imigran and Sumatriptan?

Imigran is the branded version. Sumatriptan is the generic version. Both contain the same active ingredient, sumatriptan, so both are medically equivalent but sumatriptan generic is available at a much lower cost.

How long does it take to work?

Between 30 to 60 minutes.

How long does it last?

Approximately 2 hours.

Can I take Imigran with alcohol?

Sumatriptan may cause drowsiness or dizziness, therefore alcohol is not recommended as it could make the side effects worse.

Side Effects:

●     Dizziness

●     Flushing

●     Nausea & vomiting

●     Drowsiness

However, many of these side effects may also be due to the migraine itself.

Patient Information Leaflet (from EMC):

https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/945/pil

 

Rizatriptan

Overview:

Rizatriptan treats migraines with or without aura. This drug belongs to a class known as triptans. Triptans work by constricting the widened blood vessels that cause migraine, resulting in alleviation of migraine pain and symptoms. The medication is not intended to prevent patient’s migraine attacks or minimize persistence of headaches.

Directions:

Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Rizatriptan should be taken at the onset of a migraine, it will not work in preventing migraines, so do not take unless you have a migraine. If your headache returns after taking sumatriptan, you may take another tablet given that at least 2 hours has passed. Do not take another dose of rizatriptan if the first dose did not work at all. It may be used again for a future migraine. Do not take more than 2 tablets per day.

FAQ:

What is the difference between Maxalt Melt and Rizatriptan?

Maxalt melt is the branded version and comes as a wafer formulation that dissolves in the mouth. Rizatriptan is the generic tablet formulation. Both are medically equivalent and both work in the same way.

How long does it take to work?

Around 30 minutes.

How long does it last?

Approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Side Effects:

●     Dizziness

●     Sleepiness

●     Nausea & vomiting

●     Drowsiness

●     Headache

●     Dry mouth

●     Stomach pains

●     Throat discomfort

●     Palpitations

●     Decreased skin sensitivity

Patient Information Leaflet (from EMC):

https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/9893/pil

 

Maxalt Melt

Overview:

Maxalt melt contains an active ingredient called rizatriptan, which treats migraines. This drug belongs to a class known as triptans. Triptans work by constricting the widened blood vessels that cause migraine, resulting in alleviation of migraine pain and symptoms. The medication is not intended to prevent patient’s migraine attacks or minimize persistence of headaches.

Directions:

Open the MAXALT MELT oral lyophilisate blister pack with dry hands. - The oral lyophilisate should be placed on your tongue, where it dissolves and can be swallowed with the saliva.

Open the maxalt melt blister pack with dry hands and place the wafer on your tongue, where it dissolves and can be swallowed with saliva. Maxalt melt should be taken at the onset of a migraine, it will not work in preventing migraines, so do not take unless you have a migraine. If your headache returns after taking maxalt melt, you may take another wafer given that at least 2 hours has passed. Do not take another dose of maxalt melt if the first dose did not work at all. It may be used again for a future migraine. Do not take more than 2 doses per day.

FAQ:

What is the difference between Maxalt Melt and Rizatriptan?

Maxalt melt is the branded version and comes as a wafer formulation that dissolves in the mouth. Rizatriptan is the generic tablet formulation. Both are medically equivalent and both work in the same way.

How long does it take to work?

Around 30 minutes.

How long does it last?

Approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Side Effects:

●     Dizziness

●     Sleepiness

●     Nausea & vomiting

●     Drowsiness

●     Headache

●     Dry mouth

●     Stomach pains

●     Throat discomfort

●     Palpitations

●     Decreased skin sensitivity

Patient Information Leaflet (from EMC):

https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/2781/pil

 

Zolmitriptan

Overview:

Zolmitriptan treats migraines with or without aura. This drug belongs to a class known as triptans. Triptans work by constricting the widened blood vessels that cause migraine, resulting in alleviation of migraine pain and symptoms.

Directions:

Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Zolmitriptan should be taken at the onset of a migraine, it will not work in preventing migraines, so do not take unless you have a migraine. If your headache returns after taking zolmitriptan, you may take another tablet given that at least 2 hours has passed. Do not take another dose of zolmitriptan if the first dose did not work at all. It may be used again for a future migraine. Do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours.

FAQ:

What is the difference between Zomig and Zolmitriptan?

Zomig is the branded version. Zolmitriptan is the generic version. Both contain the same active ingredient, zolmitriptan, so both are medically equivalent but zolmitriptan generic is available at a lower cost.

How long does it take to work?

Between 45 to 60 minutes.

How long does it last?

Approximately 2 hours.

What are the different forms of Zolmitriptan available?

Zolmitriptan is available as a tablet, a wafer that dissolves on your tongue and as a branded version called zomig.

Side Effects:

●     Dizziness

●     Dry mouth

●     Nausea & vomiting

●     Headache

●     Tingling of fingers and toes

●     Stomach pain

●     Feeling weak

Patient Information Leaflet (from EMC):

 https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/3968/pil

 

Zomig

Overview:

Zomig contains an active ingredient called zolmitriptan, which treats migraines. This drug belongs to a class known as triptans. Triptans work by constricting the widened blood vessels that cause migraine, resulting in alleviation of migraine pain and symptoms.

Directions:

Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Zomig should be taken at the onset of a migraine, it will not work in preventing migraines, so do not take unless you have a migraine. If your headache returns after taking zomig, you may take another tablet given that at least 2 hours has passed. Do not take another dose of zomig if the first dose did not work at all. It may be used again for a future migraine. Do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours.

FAQ:

What is the difference between Zomig and Zolmitriptan?

Zomig is the branded version. Zolmitriptan is the generic version. Both contain the same active ingredient, zolmitriptan, so both are medically equivalent but zolmitriptan generic is available at a lower cost.

How long does it take to work?

Between 45 to 60 minutes.

How long does it last?

Approximately 2 hours.

What are the different forms of Zomig available?

Zomig is available as a tablet, a wafer that dissolves on your tongue, a nasal spray and as a generic version called zolmitriptan.

Side Effects:

●     Dizziness

●     Dry mouth

●     Nausea & vomiting

●     Headache

●     Tingling of fingers and toes

●     Stomach pain

●     Feeling weak

Patient Information Leaflet (from EMC):

https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/1531/pil

Symptoms

●      Headache with throbbing pain at the front or side of the head

●      Nausea & vomiting

●      Photosensitivity - increased sensitivity to light

FAQ

What are the different types of migraines?

There are three types of migraines:

●      Migraines with aura - warning signs of visual distortions

●      Migraine without aura - there is no warning of onset

●      Migraine with aura but no headache - only other symptoms present (e.g. nausea)

How long do migraines last?

It varies with each individual, but usually between 4 to 72 hours.

What treatments are available for migraines?

Painkillers such as paracetamol can be used to block the pain sensation. Stronger 5HT-receptor agonist medication known as ‘triptans’ can also be used to contract the dilated vessel, which relieves the pain and other associated symptoms, such as nausea.

What is the difference between a migraine and a headache?

A headache is a dull pain on both sides of the head that lasts from 30 minutes to several days. Whereas a migraine is a throbbing pain usually at the front or one side of the head associated with other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.