Migraines can be extremely frustrating for those who suffer from them. People who regularly suffer from migraines may still have a hard time identifying what is causing or triggering their migraines. There are many options for people looking to treat their migraines with medicine. There are two main categories of migraine medications.
The exact cause of migraine is not fully understood. Most researchers think that migraine is due to abnormal changes in levels of substances that are naturally produced in the brain. When the levels of these substances increase, they can cause inflammation. This inflammation then causes blood vessels in the brain to swell and press on nearby nerves, causing pain.
Genes also have been linked to migraine. People who get migraines may have abnormal genes that control the functions of certain brain cells.
Experts do know that people with migraines react to a variety of factors and events, called triggers. These triggers can vary from person to person and don't always lead to migraine. A combination of triggers — not a single thing or event — is more likely to set off an attack. A person's response to triggers also can vary from migraine to migraine.
It may seem like a lot of work, but if you maintain a journal which records your daily activities, your diet, and sleep habits you may be able to identify certain changes that you may have made before experiencing a migraine. Identifying triggers can be extremely difficult, but having records can quickly make certain triggers more obvious.
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a molecule that is synthesized in neurons (nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord). It has been implicated in different pain processes, including migraine, and functions as a vasodilator — that is, it relaxes blood vessels. Once scientists identified this target molecule, they began trying to develop ways to stop it from being activated at the start of migraines, as a kind of abortive treatment. An agonist makes a molecule work more efficiently while an antagonist blocks or reduces the molecule’s effect. The CGRP antagonist did work to decrease migraine pain based on certain measures, but there were some serious side effects including liver toxicity.
- Migraine - Women'sHealth.gov
- Migraine Diagnosis and Treatment - Mayo Clinic
- Treatments for Migraine - Emergency Medicine News
- Study Determines Most Effective Migraine Medications - National Headache Foundation
- Migraine Triggers - Healthline
- CGRP: A New Era for Migraine Treatment - Harvard Health Publishing