Migraine Management: Ask the Pharmacist

Feb 21, 2017
Tips for preventing and treating chronic migraines from a pharmacist who’s been there.
Tags
  • Mental/Neurological Disorders

RPh Computer Article

The impact of migraines can be extreme – they can affect relationships, the ability to attend school or work, and overall quality of life. I know; I’ve been there.

As a child, I experienced severe headaches every week coupled with nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. I underwent tests that were really scary for a child – like CT scans and eye exams.

At an early age, I had to take an active role in managing my symptoms and avoiding triggers that caused migraines. My engagement empowered me to gain an increasing level of control over this debilitating condition.

Today, as a pharmacist, my role is to help patients see all methods for managing migraines, those including medication and other methods. Here are four things I advise not only to my patients, but also follow myself:

  • Keep a migraine journal: Log daily information such as activities, food and drink, the weather (looking for pressure changes or heat), stress level for the day and any unusual odors for at least 30 days. It might also be useful to note how you felt on that day (tired, happy, moody, etc.).
  • Be aware of triggers: Certain smells, light, stress and other factors may lead to migraines. By keeping a journal and understanding your personal triggers, you can avoid situations that lead to migraines.
  • Stay adherent to your medication: It’s important to take preventative medications as instructed by your physicians. Changes in your medication regimen can impact your probability of getting migraines. Pill boxes, or reminders through the Express Scripts mobile app can help.
  • Finally, speak with your pharmacist at the Express Scripts Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center (TRC): Like me, pharmacists in this area have a keen understanding of side effects, dosing challenges and drug interactions associated with prescription and over-the-counter medication to treat migraines and serve as a valuable resource in migraine management.

Prevalence of Migraines

As many as 10% of children experience migraines. They are more likely to affect women: 17% of women versus 6% of men experience migraines. Migraines also tend to be hereditary.

Fortunately, I no longer have chronic migraines, and knowing how to avoid triggers helps me prevent them from returning.

Author Bio

Sarah Hopkins
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