[약통팔달] Migraine pills are effective if you take them before you get sick

[이데일리 나은경 기자] Migraine is a chronic disease that 1 in 15 Koreans suffer from. Although it is not a life-threatening disease, the intensity of pain is by no means small enough that 80% of all migraine sufferers say that their daily life is disrupted by a headache. It is especially common among women, with three times more female patients than male patients.

The World Headache Association classifies migraines as recurrent, paroxysmal headaches lasting 4 to 72 hours and neurological symptoms. Diagnosis is based on unilaterality, pulsatile pattern, pain intensity greater than or equal to severe pain that impairs daily life or work efficiency, and worsening of daily physical activity such as walking.

Yuhan’s acute migraine treatment ‘Almogran’ (Courtesy of Yuhan)

Migraine symptoms are divided into four stages: prodromal, aura, headache, and posterior. Not all patients go through the four stages, but some people experience changes in their mood, behavior, appetite, or stamina hours or days before the onset of a migraine. There are various types of prodromal symptoms such as fatigue, drowsiness, yawning, stiff neck, and thirst. To enhance the analgesic effect, you should start taking the medicine as soon as you see these signs or when you are about to start experiencing pain.

Acute migraine treatment drugs are largely divided into nonspecific drugs such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and specific drugs such as triptans and ergotamines. It’s possible. If the symptoms are severe enough to not be resolved with these over-the-counter pain relievers, that is, nonspecific drugs, it is recommended to take specific drugs such as imigran, almogran, zomic, and ergotan.

Acute migraine medications should be avoided for more than 2 to 3 days per week. This is because, long-term, frequent use of acute migraine medications can cause headaches. Other side effects include fatigue, flushing, and drowsiness for triptans-specific drugs such as imigran, almogran, and Zomik, and nausea and vomiting for ergotamine-specific drugs such as ergotan and craming. In particular, triptans should not be taken together because side effects can be great when taken together with drugs with serotonergic action such as antidepressants.

If you are a chronic migraine sufferer, taking a migraine prevention medication is also an option. Preventive drugs reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraine attacks by lowering the excitability of the overactive brain and cerebral blood vessels. Migraine prevention drugs sold in Korea include Nagagard, Siberium, Depacote, and Topamax. Unlike acute migraine medications, it is recommended to start with a small daily dose and gradually increase the dose to a dose that has a preventive effect. The dose should be reduced gradually even when the dose is stopped.

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