Hello. I've seen several references to rescue medications, but I don't know what that means. Could you explain, please? Thanks, Margaret.
Yes, we'd be glad to explain. Medications for migraine are generally placed into one of three categories:
- abortive, and
Preventive medications are taken daily to reduce both the frequency and severity of migraines. Many different types of medication are used for prevention blood pressure medications, antiseizure medications, antidepressants, Botox injections, and others.
Abortive medications truly work to stop the migrainous process, this stopping the symptoms as well. These are not pain medications, which can only mask the pain for a few hours. These medications are:
- triptans such as Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, etc.;
- ergotamines such as Migranal Nasal spray and DHE 45; and
- medications equivalent to the brand name Midrin, which is now discontinued.
Rescue medications are used when abortive medications fail during a migraine attack or if, for some reason, someone can't take them. Medications that can be used for rescue include NSAIDs, antiemetics, muscle relasants, and others. You can read more about the three categories of migraine medications, including examples of them, in Preventive, Abortive, and Rescue MedicationsWhat's the Difference? You can also read more about rescue medications in Migraine Rescue Treatments - Vital to Our Treatment Regimens.
Thanks for your excellent question,
David Watson, MD, and Teri Robert
About Ask the Clinician:
Dr. David Watson is a UCNS certified migraine and headache specialists and director of the Headache Center at West Virginia University. He and Lead Health Guide Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about _ Dr. Watson_ or more about _** Teri Robert** _.
If you have a question, please click** HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. Due to the number of questions submitted, no questions will be answered privately, and questions will be accepted only when submitted via THIS FORM**. Please do not submit questions via email, private message, or blog comments. Thank you.
|**_Please note: We cannot diagnose, suggest specific treatment, or handle emergencies via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis._** For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can't answer, please see _**[Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice](http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/c/9924/162100/migraine-headache-diagnosing)** _.|
We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.