What are acute (abortive) medications used to treat migraine headache?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Acute treatment aims to reverse, or at least stop the progression of, a headache. It is most effective when given within 15 minutes of pain onset and when pain is mild. [4]

Abortive medications include the following:

  • Selective serotonin receptor (5-hydroxytryptamine–1, or 5-HT1) agonists (triptans)

  • Ergot alkaloids (eg, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine [DHE])

  • Analgesics

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Combination products

  • Antiemetics

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