Migraine headaches are a painful disorder affecting nearly 30 million Americans. Migraine sufferers often attribute their headaches to stress or sinus pressure. Individuals may receive a warning sign like nausea, vomiting, visible flashing light or colors, or sensitivity to noise, light, or smells just prior to onset.
In an effort to control the severity and numbers of headaches, your physician may begin preventative therapy with medication. Beta-blockers like propranolol and nadolol are sometimes used, but these drugs also slow heart rate. Persons with diabetes should use caution as beta-blockers might hide the effects of extremely low blood sugar. Anticonvulsants such as topiramate (Topamax) or valproic acid (Depakote-ER) are also used increasingly. Calcium-channel blockers and tricyclic antidepressants are used less commonly, but still benefit some patients. All of these medications can have side effects like low blood pressure, and dizziness. Avoiding triggers and managing stress can also help prevent these headaches. Monitor your environment, your emotions, your diet including medication, and your sleep patterns to get a better grasp of what could be causing your migraine. Talk to your local pharmacist if you have questions about any of the preventative medications above.