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04 Dec 2015

Ask the Pharmacist: Migraine Symptoms

 Dear Rowlands Pharmacy,

I’m a soon to be turning 60 year old man and I’m having a problem with migraines. I have had migraines for some time. I seem to get one every other week and they are really painful, to the point I need to lie down in a dark room until the worst of it has past. Can you recommend any solution to help stop the attacks before they start?

Sufferer, Blackpool

Migraine symptoms

Dear Sufferer,

Migraines can be particularly troublesome headaches. They often have associated symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and can be triggered by emotional stress, tiredness, exercise, smoking, bright or flickering light and certain foods (such as cheese, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol).

You may be able to take some simple steps to help prevent your migraines such as getting plenty of rest, drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid (ideally water) a day. Keeping a migraine diary can help you see if there is anything triggering your attacks that you can avoid. If you are taking any medicines, check with your pharmacist or GP to see if they are contributing to your migraines.

Once a migraine strikes there are a number of treatments available to help relieve the symptoms. I would recommend using a simple pain killer such as paracetamol or ibuprofen and a specific migraine treatment such as sumatriptan which should be taken at the first sign of the migraine. These can be obtained after a brief assessment with your pharmacist.

Some products such as Buccastem M can help with the nausea and vomiting that may accompany your migraine. Your doctor may be able to provide you with medication on prescription to prevent the migraine if the previous measures are unsuccessful and your migraines are having a big impact on your life. As with all headaches it is important to discuss your symptoms with your pharmacist or doctor particularly if they are new, severe or have changed recently. I hope this helps to ease your headaches.

For a full list of migraine treatments and remedies, visit our migraine department.

Visit our Migraine Advice Centre page for more information and guidance about treating migraines.