Which medications are used for abortive treatment of migraine headache?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Numerous abortive medications are used for migraine. The choice for an individual patient depends on the severity of the attacks, associated symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, comorbid problems, and the patient's treatment response. A stratified approach based on the patient's therapeutic needs has been advanced (see Table 1, below), as has a stepped-care approach.

Table 1. Abortive Medication Stratification by Headache Severity (Open Table in a new window)

Moderate

Severe

Extremely Severe

NSAIDs

Naratriptan

DHE (IV)

Isometheptene

Rizatriptan

Opioids

Ergotamine

Sumatriptan (SC,NS)

Dopamine antagonists

Naratriptan

Zolmitriptan

 

Rizatriptan

Almotriptan

 

Sumatriptan

Frovatriptan

 

Zolmitriptan

Eletriptan

 

Almotriptan

DHE (NS/IM)

 

Frovatriptan

Ergotamine

 

Eletriptan

Dopamine antagonists

 

Dopamine antagonists

 

 

DHE=Dihydroergotamine; NSAIDs=nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!