Ergotamines for Migraine Headaches
How It Works
Ergotamines narrow (constrict) blood vessels in the brain. It is not clear how they work to stop a migraine. These medicines are available in different forms depending on the drug, including tablets, nasal spray, suppositories, and injections.
Why It Is Used
Ergotamines may be used to stop or treat symptoms of an emerging migraine.
How Well It Works
Ergotamines have been used for many years to treat headache pain and other symptoms associated with migraines. But these medicines may not be as effective as other migraine medicines, such as triptans.1
Dihydroergotamine can be effective in some people who do not get relief from triptans.1
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Check with your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Overuse of migraine drugs can cause rebound headaches. Rebound headaches are different from migraine headaches. They are usually triggered after pain medicine has worn off, prompting you to take another dose. Eventually you get a headache whenever you stop taking the drug. Be sure to take your migraine medicine only as prescribed by your doctor.
Ergotamines should not be taken with triptans (such as Imitrex).
Ergotamines may make you more sensitive to cold weather. Dress warmly and if you need to, limit your time in cold weather.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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