Episodic migraine is a common debilitating condition with significant worldwide impact. An effective management plan must include acute treatment to relieve the pain and potential disability associated with the attacks and may also include preventative treatments with an aim of decreasing attack frequency and severity in the longer term. Acute treatments must be limited to a maximum of 2-3 days a week to prevent medication overuse headache and focus on simple analgesia, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and triptans. Preventative treatments are numerous and should be considered when migraine attacks are frequent and or disabling, acute medication is failing, in special circumstances such as hemiplegic migraines or if the patient requests them. All preventative medications must be given at therapeutic doses for at least 6-8 weeks before an adequate trial can be judged ineffective. The most important factor in choosing drugs is the patient and the clinical features of their attack and treatment should be tailored to these. Relative co-morbidities will influence drug choice, as will the side effect profile and the efficacy of the drug. First line preventative drugs include ß-blockers, amitriptyline and anti-epileptic drugs such as topiramate and valproate. Drugs with lower efficacy or poorer side effect profiles include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), calcium channel antagonists, gabapentin and herbal medicines.
Keywords: Acute, migraine, preventative, prophylaxis, treatment