Chapter: Diseases of The Brain and Nervous System(A Health Education Guide): Migraine, Headaches and Vertigo

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Migraine: Types, Important Medicines

Migraine is quite a widely well-known disease. During its attack the patient becomes extremely helpless and disturbed. This disease can affect 20 % of the adults with varying severity.

Migraine :

Migraine is quite a widely well-known disease. During its attack the patient becomes extremely helpless and disturbed. This disease can affect 20 % of the adults with varying severity. A patient experiences this attack usually 1 to 6 times in a month on an average (or even daily). The pain can either be unilateral or bilateral (right or/and left). The pain is of a pulsating kind, which increases with exertion. Nausea, vomiting, blackouts and photophobia may accompany and it is difficult to look directly towards light. The pain may continue for 4 to 72 hours. Five such attacks are required for the diagnosis of migraine. Usually, the pain subsides after taking rest or after vomiting.


Types of Migraine :

i.               Common Migraine

ii.               Classic Migraine (where symptoms related to sight or vision are essential)

iii.               Migraine where temporary paralysis can occur (Hemiplegic migraine)

iv.               Cluster headache, and Complicated

 

Migraine.Migraine can occur due to changes in food habits or lifestyle. Therefore discipline in life and food habits, mental peace, sufficient rest, prevention of constipation and less exposure to sun, (and if it is essential to go out in full sun wearing goggles) etc. are the standard suggestions a doctor’ should always give to his migraine patients. Consumption of chocolates, cheese, coffee, Chinese food, sour fruits, red wine etc. can cause migraines and therefore should be avoided. Fasting, dehydration, late nights and mental tension can trigger a migraine attack. (Sometimes sexual intercourse, environmental changes, noise pollution, contraceptive pills, or menopause can also aggravate migraine).

All migraine patients need to undergo a complete physical check-up. In many cases the help of CT scan and MRI is also taken for the purpose of reconfirmation of diagnosis and treatment. In migraine cases, CT or MRI Brain Scans are normal, therefore, these are called primary headaches. Proper drugs and regulation of life and diet as mentioned above can effectively control migraine.


Important Medicines :

The medicines to be taken during attack :

When the attack starts, the drugs to be used immediately are paracetamol, antiemetic drugs (to stop vomiting), painkillers like nimesulide, ibuprofen, or in some cases ergotamine, (oral, injectable or as suppository) can help decrease the intensity of the attack. Among the new medicines, sumatriptan (pill or injection) naratriptan have proved to be very effective.

Medicines to Prevent an Attack :

The other type of medicine like beta-blockers, flunarizine, and amitryptiline, if taken for a considerable period of time,can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. As mentioned earlier, diet and life style should also be altered accordingly.

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