Journal of Neurology

, Volume 238, Supplement 1, pp S23–S27 | Cite as

A review of current drugs for migraine

  • J. Olesen
Review Of Migraine And Its Therapy


The current treatments available for migraine are reviewed and may be classified into four basic types. (a) Identification and elimination of migraine trigger factors, which include stress, emotions, fatigue, certain foods and beverages, and certain medications such as oestrogen therapy. (b) Symptomatic treatment of individual attacks. This includes various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin and paracetamol, and ergotamine, dihydroergotamine and phenothiazines. Morphinomimetics, which are often given for migraine, should really be avoided. (c) Prophylactic treatment which is particularly recommended for patients averaging two or more severe migraine attacks per month. Useful drugs include: ß-adrenergic receptor blockers as first choice, e.g. propranolol, timolol, nadolol and metoprolol; 5-hydroxytryptamine blockers, e.g. pizotifen and methysergide; calcium channel blockers; dihydroergotamine; and NSAIDs. (d) Non-drug treatment which is best combined with identification and elimination of trigger factors, and the use of various relaxation techniques. These four treatment types are covered in some detail, however it is clear that none of them is ideal and side-effects present a problem. Clearly, the continued research and development of novel and specific drugs for migraine is vital.

Key words

Migraine Antimigraine therapy Migraine trigger factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Olesen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyGentofte HospitalCopenhagenDenmark

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