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Medicinal Headache Treatments

General Comments

  • Use extra caution if you are breast-feeding, are or might be pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant soon. Consultation with your doctor and pharmacist is crucial.
  • Always follow the doctors instructions exactly. Do not adjust the dose on your own.
  • Discuss your concerns openly with your doctor and follow his or her advice exactly.
  • The use of trade names or brand names in this section is done only as a convenience to the reader. The use of such terms should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any particular companies product (or products).  

 

Acute Or Symptomatic Therapy Classification

  • Basic Analgesics (Pain Killers)
  • Combination Analgesics (Pain Killers)
  • Narcotic Analgesics (Pain Killers)
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Anti-Emetics (Control Vomiting, etc.)
  • Local Anesthetics
  • Corticosteroids


Basic Analgesics (Pain Killers)

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Generic Name
Trade Name
Acetaminophen
Tylenol
Aspirin or ASA

Celecoxib
Celebrex
Ibuprofen
Advil, Motrin, Nuprin
Indomethacin Indocid
Ketorolac
Toradol
Naproxen Aleve, Naprosyn
Naproxen Sodium
Anaprox
Rofecoxib Vioxx


Combination Analgesics (Pain Killers)

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Generic Name
Trade Name
Acetaminophen, codeine, caffeine
Tylenol+codeine
Acetaminophen, codeine, doxylamine
Mersyndol
ASA, butalbital, codeine
Fiorinal+codeine
ASA, caffeine, butalbital
Fiorinal
ASA, codeine, caffeine
222's, 292's


Narcotic Analgesics (Pain Killers)

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Generic Name
Trade Name
Butorphanol
Stadol
Codeine

Meperidine Demerol



Serotonin Receptor Agonists

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Generic Name
Trade Name
Dihydroergotamine (DHE)
Migranal
Ergotamine, caffeine
Cafergot
Naratriptan
Amerage
Rizatriptan
Maxalt
Sumatriptan
Imitrex
Zolmitriptan
Zomig


Anti-Emetics (Control Vomiting, etc.)

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Generic Name
Trade Name
Dimenhydrinate
Gravol
Domperidone
Motilium
Metrochlopramide
Maxeran

Note: Some medications, normally used to suppress nausea and vomiting, can also work on the painful phase of the headache. The best known anti-emetic is CPZ or chlorpromazine (Largactil). This medication works best if given by injection.

When given by injection, this medication is best administered under close medical supervision. The anti-emetic drugs, can be given in combination with other headache treatments, especially those which tend to cause nausea and vomiting. Domperidone (Motilium) can be given by mouth together with other medicines. 

Local Anesthetics

Generic Name
Trade Name
Lidocaine 4% Topical
Xylocaine

Note: It has been suggested that lidocaine [Xylocaine] 4% nose drops can be useful in treating an acute headache attack. Maybe half the people taking this medicine have improvement.

Corticosteroids

Generic Name
Trade Name
Prednisone


Note: For severe and prolonged bouts of migraine, steroid drugs, such as prednisone, can be used.

Prednisone is a very powerful drug. When used for more than a few weeks it can cause a wide range of serious side-effects. This medicine must be used cautiously and only under close supervision.