(Ivanhoe Newswire)-- Anyone who has had a migraine knows how painful and disruptive it can be. New research shows that many treatments can help prevent migraines in certain people; however, few people with migraine who are candidates for these preventive treatments actually use them.
"Studies show that migraine is under recognized and undertreated," Stephen D., guideline author, was quoted as saying. "About 38 percent of people who suffer from migraine could benefit from preventive treatments, but only less than a third of these people currently use them."
Unlike treatments used to relieve the pain and associated symptoms of a migraine attack when it occurs, preventive treatments usually are taken every day to prevent attacks from occurring as often and to lessen their severity and duration when they do occur.
"Some studies show that migraine attacks can be reduced by more than half with preventive treatments," Silberstein was quoted as saying.
The guidelines, which reviewed all available evidence on migraine prevention, found that among prescription drugs, the seizure drugs divalproex sodium, sodium valproate and topiramate, along with the beta-blockers metoprolol, propranolol and timolol, are effective for migraine prevention and should be offered to people with migraine to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. The seizure drug lamotrigine was found to be ineffective in preventing migraine.
The team also reviewed over-the-counter treatments and complementary treatments. They found that the herbal preparation Petasites, also known as butterbur, is effective in preventing migraine. Other treatments that were found to be probably effective are the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs fenoprofen, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen and naproxen sodium, subcutaneous histamine and complementary treatments magnesium, MIG-99 (feverfew) and riboflavin.
Silberstein was quoted as saying that while people do not need a prescription from a physician for these over-the-counter and complementary treatments, they should still see their doctor regularly for follow-up. "Migraines can get better or worse over time, and people should discuss these changes in the pattern of attacks with their doctors and see whether they need to adjust their dose or even stop their medication or switch to a different medication," Silberstein said. "In addition, people need to keep in mind that all drugs, including over-the-counter drugs and complementary treatments, can have side effects or interact with other medications, which should be monitored."