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Deciding About Taking Medicine to Prevent Migraines

How can you decide about taking medicine to prevent migraine headaches?

What are migraines?

Migraines are painful, throbbing headaches. They can last from 4 to 72 hours. They often occur on only one side of your head. But you may feel them on both sides. The pain may keep you from doing your daily activities.

You may take a daily medicine if you get bad migraines often. This can help prevent them.

What are key points about this decision?

  • Medicines to prevent migraines may not stop them every time. But if you take them daily, you can reduce how many migraines you get by more than half. They can also reduce how long migraines last. And your symptoms may not be as bad.
  • Medicines that prevent migraines may cause side effects. You may have sleep and memory problems, upset stomach, dry mouth, or constipation. Some of these side effects may last for as long as you take the medicine. Or they may go away within a few weeks.

Why might you choose to take medicine to prevent migraines?

  • You are willing to take medicine daily if it will help your symptoms.
  • You don't think the side effects of the medicine could be as bad as your migraine symptoms.
  • Your migraines get in the way of your work. Or they harm your relationships with friends and family.
  • Benefits of medicine include fewer or no migraines. And your migraines may not last as long or feel as bad.

Why might you choose not to take medicine to prevent migraines?

  • You want to avoid the side effects of the medicine.
  • You don't want to take medicine every day.
  • Your migraines are not affecting your work and relationships.
  • If your symptoms don't improve with home treatment and other medicines, you can decide later to take medicine every day to help prevent migraines.

Your decision

Thinking about the facts and your feelings can help you make a decision that is right for you. Be sure you understand the benefits and risks of your options, and think about what else you need to do before you make the decision.

Where can you learn more?

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