Best treatments for migraines

New assessment finds several drugs are effective

An estimated 36 million Americans suffer from migraines, more than have asthma and diabetes combined. Many of those patients try numerous medications before finding one that works.

A new assessment in the January issue of the American Headache Society takes a closer look at the best treatments to ease the pain of migraines.   The review of recent scientific studies found several classes of drugs were effective.

Drug classes found to be "most effective" included triptans, dihydroergotamine (DHE), and many NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.  Also making the "most effective" list -- butorphanol nasal spray, and the combination medications sumatriptan/naproxen and acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine.

Several other medications were found to be "probably effective" or "possibly effective."

The assessment noted opioids such as butorphanol, codeine/acetaminophen and tramadol/acetaminophen are "probably effective," but they are not recommended for regular use.

The researchers noted that doctors must consider several factors when prescribing medications for migraine, including effectiveness and potential side effects.

The assessment will be used to create new AHS guidelines for migraine treatment.

To read more about the assessment, click here.