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Headache and Migraine | How Can You Treat Migraines?

Headache and Migraine Videos

While there is no cure for migraines, treatment is available to ease symptoms. If over the counter medicines fail to relieve symptoms it might be time to talk to your GP. Here are some options available.


A popular form of migraine treatment, painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin can help reduce symptoms. Using painkillers too frequently can make migraines worse and always remember that aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or to people with liver, kidney or stomach problems. They are most effective if taken in soluble form and at the first signs of an attack as the bloodstream will have more time to absorb them and ease symptoms. Suppositories can be used if vomiting is persistent.

Triptan Medicine

If ordinary painkillers fail to relieve migraine symptoms your next stop might be to try triptan medicines. Triptan medicines work differently to painkillers but only work for some people. They cause blood vessels around the brain to contract, which in turn reverses the widening of the blood vessels believed to be part of the migraine process. They come in tablet, injection and nasal spray form. Some are available over the counter while others will require a prescription from your GP.


Anti inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen are usually effective in treating migraine symptoms. You can buy them over the counter at pharmacies or by getting a prescription from your doctor.

Anti- Sickness Medicines

Anti sickness medicines can treat migraines even if you are not suffering from nausea. They can be prescribed by your doctor and taken along with painkillers. They will usually come in either tablet or suppository form.

Combination Medicines

Combination medicines combine both painkillers and anti sickness medication which some people find more convenient. Remember, the dose of either may not be enough to treat symptoms so you may need to keep them at separate doses. You should ask your GP or pharmacist about whether they might be a suitable option for you.

Specialist Migraine Clinics

If you find that you are unresponsive to treatment, talk to your doctor about being referred to a specialist clinic. Here they will further investigate the migraine and determine whether or not they are related to another condition.

Remember that if you are suffering from migraines while pregnant or breastfeeding, medical treatment should be limited. Your GP should prescribe a low dosepainkiller to help you treat symptoms


Published July 2013

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