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Migraine


Migraine is used to describe a particular type of headache. It is a medical condition that can only be confirmed by a doctor.

An attack of migraine is often accompanied, although not always, by the following:

  • blurred vision
  • flashing and/or coloured lights before the eyes
  • nausea and vomiting
  • tingling or numbness of the extremities i.e. the hands or feet

The usual course of treatment is the same as for a headache, that is analgesics (pain killers). However, there are also specialist products available that assist with the added symptoms of a migraine. These products usually contain an anti-emetic. These agents act to suppress the symptoms of nausea and vomiting.

Analgesics

There is a huge range of analgesics available on the market today, some contain one pain killer some contain combination of two or more.
There is no preferred analgesic, individuals respond differently to different analgesics. The best way to find out which pain killer is best for you is to try several over a period of time and base your decision on personal experience.
Always follow the instructions given with any analgesic. Always read any labelling to ensure the medication is suitable for your use. Never give prescription analgesics to, or accept them from, another person.
The main analgesics in use are:
  • Paracetamol
    This is an extremely safe analgesic if used correctly. This agent also acts to lower temperatures in fever - Antipyretic.
  • Aspirin
    This agent is similar to paracetamol but also has an anti-inflammatory property. It is quite useful but can cause irritation to the stomach.
    Do not use Aspirin if you have an allergy to it.
  • Codeine
    This agent is used in preparations with other analgesics, i.e. aspirin and paracetamol. It is an opiate an when combined with other analgesics has and additive effect. The two agents together work better then each ingredient alone.
  • Ibuprofen
    This agent is based on aspirin but is more gentle on the stomach. Again it is also available in combination with Codeine.

Anti-Emetics

These agents act centrally to combat the feelings of nausea that migraine sufferers may experience.
The following agents are contained in preparations combined with analgesics:
  • Cyclizine
    This agent is an antihistamine that has a central action that reduces feelings of nausea.
  • Buclizine
    This agent belongs to the same family of drugs as cyclizine and works in the same way.
  • Isomethaptene
    This drug belongs to another class of drugs called the sympathomimetics, these agents act by mimicking the bodies own natural chemicals that usually act to stop nausea.

General Advice

If you suffer from migraine here are a few tips to help you through an attack:
  • Use soluble analgesics
    These get into the body more quickly than normal tablets and especially so with migraine as during an attack the stomach empties more slowly
  • Lie in a darkened room
    This will help reduce the nauseating effect of the visual disturbances, also the relaxation may help.

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