Information for the public

Treatments for migraine

Relief from migraine

Although there is no cure for migraine, there are treatments that can help.

Your healthcare professional should offer you a triptan together with either an NSAID or paracetamol to help relieve migraine. If you prefer to take only 1 drug, they may offer you a triptan, an NSAID, high‑dose aspirin or paracetamol. They may also offer you an anti-emetic. All of these drugs are oral drugs. If you are unable to take oral drugs, or they do not work well, you may be offered metoclopramide or prochlorperazine, which are non-oral drugs. You may also be offered a non‑oral NSAID or triptan.

If you are aged under 16 you should not be offered aspirin.

You should not be offered an ergot or an opioid to treat migraine.

Reducing future migraine

Your healthcare professional should discuss the benefits and risks of treatment to reduce future migraine with you. If you decide to have treatment to help prevent future migraine they should offer you topiramate or propranolol. You may be offered amitriptyline as a treatment option, depending on your preferences, any other health problems you have and the possible side effects of the drug. You should not be offered gabapentin because evidence shows that it is not effective in preventing migraine.

Topiramate can cause birth defects, and your healthcare professional should discuss this with you if it's possible that you could become pregnant. They should also check what type of contraception you are using, and change it if necessary, because topiramate can make some types of contraceptive drugs less effective.

If neither topiramate nor propranolol are suitable or work well for you, you may be offered a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture.

If you are already having a different drug treatment to help prevent future migraine and the treatment is working well, you should continue it.

Your healthcare professional should check how well the treatment you are having to help prevent migraine is working 6 months after you start taking it. Your healthcare professional should tell you that for some people supplements of riboflavin may help to reduce the number and severity of migraines.

If you have menstrual‑related migraine there is more information in special considerations for women and girls with migraine.