Migraine Term of the Day: Half-Life

Patient Expert

When we're looking at Migraine and headache information, whether it's from our doctor, a book, or an online article, we sometimes come across medical terms that can be confusing.

Sometimes, it's easy enough to substitute another word or a short phrase for the medical term. At other times, substituting just doesn't convey quite the same meaning or takes more than a few words.

Some of you have expressed an interest in learning more of the medical terminology that comes up when discussing Migraine disease and other headache disorders. So, I'll be posting a "term of the day," probably a couple of times a week. If there are terms you'd like to have defined, please leave a comment to let me know what it is.

Today's term: Half-Life.

Half-Live is the time required for half the amount of a medication to be eliminated or disintegrated by natural processes.

When discussing Migraine disease and other headache disorders, we sometimes discuss half-life in determining how long a medication stays in the body to help determine issues such as how soon after taking a mediation can different medication be used safely or how a nursing mother safely breastfeed without passing medication on to their infant. After five** half-lives**, 99 of a medication has cleared the body.

Half-life also sometimes helps us choose a medication. For example: Some people do better with Amerge or Frova because they have longer half-lives than the other triptans.