Preventing a Migraine: Infusion Therapy Makes It Possible

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A disabling migraine can seriously disrupt your daily routine. The pulsating headache, which is sometimes also associated with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light/sound, diarrhea and other symptoms, can knock you down for days. Relief from the pain may be found in oral medications, and via lifestyle changes like reducing stress, getting more sleep, eating healthier, and exercising regularly.

But the ideal treatment, say many longtime sufferers, is one that prevents a migraine from happening in the first place. Clinical neurologist Dr. Richard Kim outlines various treatment options that do just that:

Treatments To Prevent Migraines

One of the newest treatments to prevent migraines from occurring is called Vyepti. The medication, needed just once every three months, is delivered through an IV (intravenous therapy).

Available in two strengths, “Vyepti is well-tolerated and it can work quickly,” says Dr. Kim. “About half of our patients see a benefit the next day.” Not only has Vyepti shown to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, Dr. Kim says, “if you still get a migraine, typically it will decrease the duration and the severity of the attack.” It is approved for ages 18 and older.

Because the medication is delivered through an IV, to receive Vyepti you’ll go to an infusion center where you’ll stay for one-to-three hours. “At the infusion center we can also add medications to the IV to treat other symptoms a patient may be experiencing, like nausea or vomiting,” says Dr. Kim. “And because dehydration is common, we often provide fluids to take care of that too.”

Other treatment options available to prevent migraines are:

  • Once-a-month injections which you can give yourself at home
  • Daily oral medications. Dr. Kim explains these medications were originally developed to treat other conditions like seizures, depression, or high blood pressure, and later were found to be effective for some migraine patients. “Because they were originally developed for other medical conditions, these medications work on many different receptors in the body which means they have numerous potential side effects.”

Treating a Migraine Once It Starts

“There’s been a lot of development in medications that diminish migraine pain after an attack has begun,” Dr. Kim reports. Two of the newer ones, called ditans and gepants, work differently than other migraine medications and are considered a game-changer for some sufferers. Some of these newer medications are able to control vomiting as well as pain.

Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen are still considered first-line treatments for migraines. 

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