Have you ever suffered through a severe migraine attack? Or seen your friend suffering a torturous headache that seems interminable? Migraines, as you know, cause an acute throbbing sensation on one side of the head, almost feeling equivalent to a hammering motion.
Unfortunately, there is no particular cure or treatment that could get you permanently off the hooks of a migraine. There are, however, certain medications to be followed, collectively known as ‘migraine cocktail.’
Migraine cocktail is not a drink or a cocktail in the conventional sense which you can drink chilling at a beach party; it is, rather a concoction of several medications which can help you provide relief to some migraine symptoms. However, you need to keep in mind that a migraine cocktail’s effects work largely on the basis of other medical conditions you have.
What are the ingredients of a migraine cocktail?
The ingredients of a migraine cocktail, as they are larger in number, are generally injected through IV in your blood. The entire process takes about an hour or so to feel the effects and relief from migraine symptoms. For it to work efficiently, you need to know some of the migraine cocktail ingredients. They are:
- Triptans: Triptans basically help in narrowing the blood vessels, which in turns helps you in unencumbered you from the pain. They are anti-inflammatory medications and one of the examples of a triptan in the migraine cocktail is sumatriptan.
- Antiemetics: Antiemetics are available in the form of prochlorperazine and metoclopramide in the migraine cocktail. These medications help you in treating nausea and vomiting.
- Ergot Alkaloids:·Ergot alkaloids are available in the form of dihydroergotamine and work similarly in the fashion of triptans, which eventually helps you in reducing the migraine pain.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAID is available in the form of ketorolac in a migraine cocktail which works more or less as a pain-relieving medication.
- IV steroids, fluids, magnesium, valproic acids: IV steroids and magnesium are used to prevent the pain and inflammation you feel while suffering from a migraine attack. IV fluids are injected in your blood to put back any fluids that you might have lost and are also used to prevent any side-effects. Valproic acids are used to prevent a severe migraine attack.
What are the potential side-effects of these medications?
All the medications mentioned above have to be taken in appropriate proportions as per the prescription, otherwise, it might lead to certain side-effects. The potential side-effects of these medications include:
- Triptans can cause tiredness, aches and discomfort in jaw, neck and chest regions.
- Antiemetics can cause restlessness and muscle tremors.
- NSAIDs can cause diarrhea and other stomach digestion problems if not taken according to the prescription.
- Alkaloids can cause sleep problems, nausea and vomiting.
- Steroids can also cause sleep problems, nausea and diarrhea.
This is a prescription based migraine cocktail that includes some of the most common and known medications. However, there is another type of migraine cocktail, called over-the-counter migraine cocktail.
What is Over-The Counter (OTC) migraine cocktail?
A simplified version of the migraine cocktail, it is inclusive of only three ingredients. They are:
Aspirin: Aspirin is one of the most common types of medications used, even when you are suffering from a normal headache. 250mg of aspirin can help you reduce the pain and inflammation you feel while having a migraine attack.
Acetaminophen: These medications are used for relieving the acute pain you experience. They reduce the number of prostaglandins in your body, which sometimes increases the sensitivity to pain.
Caffeine: Not many know this, but caffeine has tremendous effects in reducing the symptoms of a migraine.
According to the research, if all these medications are taken together, in appropriate proportions, then it can have a profound effect on reducing the migraine pain.
Whether they are prescription based medications or OTC medications, they have to be taken at a specific time and in specific amounts. Although OTC medications are minimal, they can cause some side-effects if one does not care about the time and amount.
The potential side-effects of OTC medications:
OTC medications are always harmful to the people who are allergic to aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine. It is also harmful to children who are below the age of 12 as it involves the risk of Reye syndrome, which causes brain and liver damage.
- If you are experiencing any of the below mentioned conditions, it is best to consult a doctor before consuming the OTC medications:
- Suffering from a severe migraine attack, with abnormal pain and inflammation.
- Suffering from any cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases or kidney diseases.
- Experiencing severe heartburn or ulcers.
- Suffering from asthma
- Taking any other medications for other medical conditions, such as diuretics, blood thinning medications, drugs or steroids.
Some other potential side-effects of taking OTC medications are:
- Stomach pain
- Rebound headache
- Sleep problems
Although these medications work effectively, one cannot possibly continue to live his life solely on medicines. Therefore, the need of the day is to opt for some unconventional methods to deal with migraine attacks and basically not experience them again.
Other remedies to deal with migraine:
These are some of the non-pharmaceutical ways to deal with migraine and probably throw the option for a migraine cocktail out of the window. They are:
Meditation: Relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises help in relieving the pain, tension and stress that is burdened on your mind, which is often the trigger point for a migraine attack.
Exercise: Exercising is one of the most effective ways of dealing with migraine. While exercising your brain releases the ‘feel-good’ hormones, such as dopamine and endorphins which significantly reduces your stress levels.
Healthy diet: It is very essential to include the required minerals and vitamins in your daily diet, such as Vitamin B and magnesium, which pumps your body enough to deal with the symptoms of migraine.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a technique where small needles are inserted in your body, which enhances the healthy flow of energy in your body. Here certain specific pressure points are targeted, which help in releasing the migraine pain and develops a tolerance to deal with the symptoms.
Before making a migraine cocktail for yourself to treat your migraine, you should give other remedies the time of the day, as they are safe and enlightening.