Migraines are a common but often misdiagnosed headache that affect up to 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men. Migraine sufferers can experience a range of symptoms with the most common being severe throbbing headache and aura which can cause visual disturbances as well as sensitivity to light.

Migraine relief treatments include pain killing medicines but there are also specialist medicines that help to stop migraines before they take hold. They are non-addictive, effective and backed by years of medical evidence to prove they are safe. They are also available in nasal spray and dispersible tablet form, making it easier to treat your migraines if you experience sickness with them.

Sumatriptan Tablets
Sumatriptan tablets are an effective treatment used to treat migraine headaches It is part of the -HT B D nbsp Read More
From £11.99
Zolmitriptan Tablets
Zolmitriptan Zomig belongs to a class of medicines called selective serotonin -HT B D receptor agonists known as triptans for Read More
From £14.99
Zolmitriptan Orodispersible Tablets
Zolmitriptan orodispersible tablets are melt in the mouth tablets that belong to the selective serotonin -HT B D receptor agonist Read More
From £23.99
Rizatriptan Tablets
Rizatriptan is an effective treatment used for the headaches associated migraine with or without Aura It belongs to a group Read More
From £11.49
Rizatriptan Orodispersible Tablets
Rizatriptan orodispersible tablets are a melt in the mouth tablet solution for migraines with or without aura nbsp Rizatriptan belongs Read More
From £11.99
Imigran Tablets
Imigran tablets are used to treat migraine headaches They contain the active ingredient Sumatriptan which belongs to a group of Read More
From £39.95
Zomig 2.5mg Tablets
Zomig is a brand of the active medication Zolmitriptan Zolmitriptan belongs to a class of medicines called selective serotonin -HT Read More
From £34.50
Imigran Nasal Spray
Imigran nasal spray is used to treat migraine headaches It contains the active ingredient Sumatriptan which belongs to a group Read More
From £24.95
Maxalt Melt 10mg Wafers
Maxalt Melt contains the active ingredient Rizatriptan which belongs to a class of medicines called the triptans or -HT B Read More
From £28.99

What is a Migraine and what’s different from a normal headache?

A Migraine is a moderate to severe headache that is characterised by a throbbing, usually on the front or to one side of the head. This throbbing is very important as it usually the tell-tale sign that you have a migraine rather than a normal dull headache.

Migraines affect up to 20% of women and 7% of men regularly. Once started, a migraine can persist for up to 72 hours and can be debilitating.

Types of Migraines and Symptoms

There are three main types of migraines:

1. Migraines with aura often referred to as a ‘classic migraine’. This type of migraine will cause visual disturbances, “aura” but can sometimes cause blurriness or colour disturbances. Most of the time, the “aura” comes before the headache and therefore using a triptan like Sumatriptan can prevent the headache from taking hold.

Aura Symptoms can include:

    • visual problems –seeing flashing lights, zig-zag patterns or blind spots

    • numbness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles

    • feeling dizzy or off balance

    • difficulty speaking

    • loss of consciousness

2. Migraine without aura – this is where there is no other warning, the headache is the main and first symptoms. Other symptoms may follow.

3. Migraine with aura but no development of a throbbing headache.

The main other symptoms associated with migraine are:

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • increased sensitivity to light and sound – which is why many people with a migraine want to rest in a quiet, dark room

Occasionally patients may also experience:

  • sweating

  • poor concentration,

  • feeling very hot or very cold (flushes)

  • pain in the abdomen

  • diarrhoea

What can cause or trigger a migraine?

The exact cause of migraines is still poorly understood. What is known is that whatever does trigger it causes abnormal brain activity that affects nerves and neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin (5HT). This causes blood vessels in some areas of the brain to dilate (swell). It’s this swelling that causes the pain and nausea associated with migraines.

The abnormal brain activity mentioned above can be triggered by certain stimulators. The most common ones are:

  • stress and anxiety

  • lack of sleep or exhaustion

  • poor posture

  • Poor pain management of other conditions for example trapped nerves in the back

  • Overwhelming stimulation of the senses (e.g. extreme bad smells)

  • Foods such as red wine, strong cheese (tyramine rich)

  • Certain medicines

How long can migraines last?

Migraine headaches can vary in length but the most common range is between 4 hours to 3 days (72 hours). Severity of the symptoms is why specific migraine treatments are relevant. Pain killing drugs may not be able to manage the pain alone and once they wear off, the pain from the migraine headache can return.

What migraine treatments are available?

Some patients respond well to taking basic over the counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin or paracetamol. The NSAID type painkillers can be useful as there are inflammatory components to a migraine headache.

For severe migraines, or for patients that experience migraines more frequently than others, stronger 5HT-receptor agonist medicines (‘triptans’) such as Sumatriptan (Imigran) and Zolmitriptan (Zomig) are more appropriate. Unlike painkillers, triptans work to stop the root cause of the headache. They stop the process that causes dilation of the blood vessels in the brain and reverses the pain and the nausea that patients feel during an attack. In patients that suffer with particularly severe symptoms, triptan use can markedly increase their quality of life.

Which migraine treatment should I choose?

Each treatment has it’s own unique advantages and choice should be made mainly on how effective they are at treating your migraine. We recommend that you consult your GP if you are uncertain.

- Cheapest TreatmentSumatriptan and Zolmitriptan

- Fastest actingZomig Nasal Spray and Imigran Nasal Spray and Rizatriptan / Maxalt

Keep a Headache Diary

Recording details of your migraine attacks can be useful for both you and those helping to treat you. A diary will help a prescriber choose a more informed treatment option for you, can help you recognise what triggers your migraines and can help assess whether a particular medicine is actually effective or not for you.

What to record:

  • when the symptoms such as headache or aura started
  • what are all your symptoms (i.e. pins and needles, visual disturbances etc)
  • how often they occur and how long they last
  • where the pain is and what type of pain is it (i.e. dull, throbbing etc)
  • what treatment option you take and whether its effective

It’s very important to also record lifestyle activities when an attack occurs:

  • what and when you eat
  • medication and or supplements you take or have taken
  • your sleeping pattern and how much exercise you’ve done
  • social and work activities and their intensity
  • women should record details of their menstrual cycle.

It is often useful to note if you did anything different prior to the attack such as missing a meal or had a beer etc. The 6-8 hours before the migraine attack are particularly important to record. 

 P.S 2019