A typical migraine headache is unilateral (affecting one half of the head) and pulsating in nature and lasting from two to 72 hours.

Symptoms may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • photophobia (increased sensitivity to light)
  • phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound)
  • sensitivity to smells
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • pain aggravated by physical activity
  • sense of the world spinning
  • fainting
  • confusion
  • head splitting

Approximately one-third of people who suffer from migraine headaches perceive an aura—transient visual, sensory, language, or motor disturbances signaling the migraine will soon occur.  Sometimes an aura can occur with little or no headache following it.

Migraines may be induced by triggers.  A trigger may occur up to 24 hours prior to the onset of symptoms.


  • stress
  • hunger
  • fatigue
  • sensitivity to a smell
  • motion sickness
  • hormonal:
    • menstruation, pregnancy, menopause
  • dietary:
    • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
    • sodium nitrate, a food additive used as a preservative and color fixative in cured meats and poultry
    • sodium nitrite,  a food additive and preservative used in deli meats
    • chocolate
    • red wine
  • sensitive to gluten
    • foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye
    • gluten is used as a stabilizing agent in products like ice cream and ketchup, where it might be unexpected
    • gluten may be present in beer or soy-sauce
  • low serotonin levels – when serotonin levels drop, the blood vessels in the brain swell; it is the swelling that causes the pain of a migraine
    • high levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (5HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine) have also been implicated
  • data found showing migraine and cluster headaches are characterised by an increase of circulating neurotransmitters and neuromodulators (including tyramine) – tyramine-rich foods:
    • produced by the decarboxylation of tyrosine during fermentation or decay
    • meats that are potentially spoiled or pickled, aged, smoked, fermented, or marinated – some fish, poultry, and beef, most pork (except cured ham)
    • chocolate
    • alcoholic beverages
    • fermented foods
    •  most cheeses (except ricotta, cottage, cream and neufchatel cheeses
    • sour cream
    • yogurt
    • shrimp paste
    • soy sauce
    • soybean condiments
    • teriyaki sauce
    • tofu
    • tempeh
    • miso soup
    • sauerkraut
    • broad (fava) beans
    • green bean pods
    • Italian flat (Romano) beans
    • snow peas
    • avocados
    • bananas
    • pineapple
    • eggplants
    • figs
    • red plums
    • raspberries
    • peanuts
    • Brazil nuts
    • coconuts
    • processed meat
    • yeast
    • array of cacti

List of migraine medications to – treat – abort – prevent

  •  Generic (Brand Name ® Registered Trademark)


  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Aspirin (Ecotrin) (Bayer) (Anacin)
  • Caffeine
  • Aspirin, Acetaminophen, & Caffeine (Excedrin Extra Strength) (Excedrin Migraine)
  • Isometheptene Mucate, Chloralphenazone & Acetaminophen (Midrin) (Migratine)
  • Butalbital, Acetaminophen & Caffeine (Fiorcet)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Diclofenac (Cataflam) (Voltaren)
  • Etodolac (Lodine) (Lodine XL)
  • Flurbiprofen (Ansaid)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin) (Advil) (Advil Migraine)
  • Indomethacin (Indocin) (Indocin SR)
  • Ketoprofen
  • Meclofenamate (Meclomen)
  • Meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Nabumetone (Relafen)
  • Naproxen (Naprosyn)
  • Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) (Anaprox) (Naprelan)
  • Oxaprozin (Daypro)
  • Piroxicam (Feldene)


Triptans are one of the most commonly used classes of medicines for the relief of migraine symptoms.  They can help relieve symptoms by narrowing blood vessels in the head that become dilated during a migraine headache.  Agonist (activating) effects on serotonin receptors (5-HT1B and 5-HT1D)  in cranial blood vessels (causing their constriction) and subsequent inhibition of pro-inflammatory neuropeptide release.

  • Almotriptan (Axert)
  • Eletriptan (Relax)
  • Frovatriptan (Frova)
  • Naratriptan (Amerge)
  • Rizatriptan (Maxilla)
  • Sumatriptan (Alsuma) (Imitrex(Sumavel)
  • Sumatriptan/Naproxen Sodium (Treximet)
  • Zolmitriptan (Zomig)

Ergotamines / Ergots

  • Dihydroergotamine (Migranal)
  • Ergotamine (Cafergot) (Ergomar)
Opioid Pain Medicine
  • Butalbital, Acetaminophen, Caffeine & Codeine Phosphate (Fiorcet with Codeine)
  • Butorphanol (Stall)
  • Codeine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine) (Methadose)
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone


  • Beta Blockers
  • Anticonvulsant / Seizure Medication
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
    • Verapamil (Calan) (Verelan)
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
    • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
    • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • Methysergide (Sansert)
  • Onabotulinumtoxin (Botox)

It may take 2 to 3 months before a decrease in the frequency or severity of attacks is noticed, and treatment may be required for 6 to 12 months or longer.  To avoid long-term side effects of preventive medications, headache specialists advise people to reduce the dosage of these drugs and then stop taking them.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend certain NSAIDs or other antidepressants to help prevent migraines. Antidepressants can be helpful when a person with migraines also has anxiety or depression.

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Quoted from Sources: – Migraine – Migraine Medications – Tyramine – Gluten – serotonin and migraines

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