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Guidelines for Fighting Migraines

Updated:
Headache sufferers wondering if a migraine is to blame, and if so what to do, have some new resources.

Migraine specialists recently devised the first guidelines for primary care physicians to use in picking a treatment, guidelines that explain what scientific evidence is behind each medication.

For example, drugs used to prevent migraines include anti-epilepsy drugs that work by inhibiting abnormal firing of brain cells linked to migraines, as well as heart-related medications like verapamil and certain antidepressants. Each has pros and cons.

Likewise, the guidelines discuss who is the best candidate for the most powerful prescription migraine treatments — four drugs called ``triptans'' — or other prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Although the guidelines are largely written in medical jargon, patients can read them on the Internet at http://www.aan.com.

For more consumer-friendly information, the National Headache Foundation and U.S. Headache Consortium offer brochures and Web sites. Check http://www.headaches.org or http://www.achenet.org, or call 1-888-NHF-5552.
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