Guide To Migraines :What You Should Know About Triggers, Symptoms And Treatments

Guide to Migraines: What You Should Know

About Triggers, Symptoms and Treatment

What are migraines?

Migraines are a complex condition with a large variety of symptoms which usually start as a throbbing pain in the front or side of the head. For many people, the main feature is a painful headache. Other possible symptoms can include sensitivity to light, disturbed vision, feeling sick / vomiting, even sound and smells. Migraines can be very frightening and may result in you having to lie still for a few hours
Depending on the person your symptoms will vary and individuals may experience different symptoms during different attacks in which they may differ in length and frequency. The duration of migraines usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours depending on how severe it is and most people free from symptoms between attacks.

Types of Migraines:

  • A migraine with aura is when there is a warning sign before a migraine begins. Warning signs may include visual problems (such as flashing lights) and stiffness in the neck, shoulders or limbs.
  • A migraine without a headache, also known as a silent migraine, is when an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache does not develop.

Who is affected by migraines?

get your migraine treatment

Get your migraine treatment

Migraines often start in young adults with many people experiencing one before they are 40 years old, they occur more in woman than in men this could be due to hormones and are usually more frequent around their menstrual cycle.  They affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 12 men in the UK.

Why do we get migraines?

Most migraines occur due to certain triggers, such as stress and certain foods.
They are also caused by changes in the chemicals of the brain, serotonin decreases during a migraine causing the blood vessels to narrow this leads the brain to contraction which may result in an aura, The blood vessels then widen which then causes a headache.

Emotional triggers:

Anxiety and Depression can cause migraine

Anxiety and Depression can cause a migraine

  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Shock
  • Depression
  • Excitement

Physical triggers:

Poor quality sleep can cause a migraine

Poor quality sleep can cause a migraine

  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Shift work
  • Poor posture
  • Neck or shoulder tension
  • Travelling for a long period
  • Low blood sugar
  • Tiredness
  • Menopause

Dietary Triggers:

Alcohol can cause a migraine headache

Alcohol can cause a migraine headache

  • Delayed or irregular meals (see below)
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol
  • The food additive tyramine
  • Caffeine products, such as tea and coffee
  • Specific foods such as chocolate, citrus fruit and cheese
  • Lack of eating

Treating Migraines:

Pharmacy Medicines to treat Migraines

Painkiller can treat migraine attacks

Painkiller can treat migraine attacks

There is no cure for migraines but over the counter medicines such as Nurofen, Paramol and Imigran can be used to treat the symptoms of migraines.
Painkillers are usually the first treatment for a migraine. They tend to be more effective if taken at the first signs of a migraine attack. This gives them time to absorb into your bloodstream and ease your symptoms.

Prescription Medicines to treat Migraines

Your doctor may recommend taking painkillers in addition to a type of medication called a triptan and possibly anti-sickness medication.

Triptans are not painkillers; Triptans are a class of medicines used to relieve migraine attacks and cluster headaches.

They include:

Almotriptan ( Almogran )

Eletriptan also called as Relpax

Frovatriptan also called as Migard

Naratriptan also called as Naramig

Rizatriptan also called as Maxalt

Sumatriptan also called as Imigran

Zolmitriptan also called as Zomig

The above medications to treat migraine attack requires a prescription from your doctor. If the medication was helpful, treatment could be continued by using an online doctor consultation.

Preventing Migraines:

There are different ways to help minimise migraine attacks

  1. Avoid triggers that you have identified that can cause your migraine.

  2. Medication

Certain medication can be prescribed by your to prevent migraines. These medicines are used when the frequency of migraines is high and also you are avoiding all the possible triggers that are associated with your migraines.

Current guidelines:

  • Treatment should be used when standard analgesia and triptans are either contraindicated or ineffective.

Types of  preventive drugs

  • Beta-blockers (Propranolol) is a medication traditionally used to treat angina and high blood pressure, but it has also been shown to help prevent migraines. It is usually taken every day in tablet form. Beta-blockers may be especially useful when the person with a headache also has hypertension or anxiety, but contra-indications such as asthma, depression and peripheral vascular disease often limit use.


  • Topiramate is classed as an antiepileptic medicine. It is usually used to prevent seizures in people with epilepsy. However, topiramate has also been found to prevent migraine attacks from occurring. When utilised for a migraine, it may not completely stop every migraine attack, but the number and severity of attacks are often reduced.
  • Gabapentin is also classes as an antiepileptic medicine. Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are also used to relieve migraine attacks.
  • Pizotifen 1.5 mg daily has been used for a long time. Pizotifen is taken to prevent troublesome headaches such as a migraine and recurrent throbbing headaches. It is also used to treat cluster headaches.

For further information and treatment advice:

Speak to one of our pharmacists @assetchemist

Tel: +44 1375 846 316