FYI Daily

For Migraine Sufferers, New Research on Which Preventatives Work

Last updated: Apr 25, 2012


Finding the right treatment for migraines can be a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. There's no shortage of drug and treatment options, but since not everyone responds the same way, it's hard to figure out what might work without a lot of trial and error.

Three recent studies narrow down the options a little by flagging drugs that show statistical evidence that they prevent migraines, at least for some people.

The first study reviewed studies done in the past few years on standard migraine prevention drugs, while the second study did the same type of research, but focused on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal treatments, and other alternative treatments.

According to the authors, here's a partial list of drugs and treatments you should talk to your doctor about if you get fewer than 15 migraines per month:

  • Anti-epileptic drugs like Topamax and Depakote
  • Some beta-blockers, especially metoprolol, propranolol, and timolol
  • Some antidepressants like amitriptyline (Elavil) and venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Some triptans like Frova for menstrual migraines
  • Butterbur (MIG-99), feverfew, magnesium, and vitamin B2
  • Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen (though researchers noted that NSAIDs can cause more headaches through medication overuse and rebound)

On the other hand, these drugs and treatments may just be a waste of money:

  • Lamictal
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Aspirin
  • Omega-3 supplements
  • Hyperbaric oxygen treatments

And the third study would add botox injections to the second list -- at least if you have episodic migraines (fewer than 15 migraines per month) or tension headaches. Researchers noted that botox did help some people with chronic migraines (more than 15 migraines per month) and chronic daily headache.

All these drug options triggering a headache? Here are 7 natural treatments for migraines.