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Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Take Your Medication

You feel the first symptoms of a migraine coming on. You:

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a) Reach for your pain medication

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b) Wait it out

If your regular inclination is b, you may be setting yourself up for a longer attack.

Early treatment may result in a better outcome for migraine sufferers

Research shows that early treatment of migraine may result in a better outcome for the migraine sufferer. Yet often, people don’t take their medication until their pain is entrenched.

Why do we wait out the attack?

Maybe we think we can ride it out, or perhaps we hope it may not really be a migraine. Some are worried about overusing medications. Waiting it out may even be a symptom of a migraine-addled brain that isn’t thinking clearly.
Here’s the catch: not taking your medication in the early stages of a migraine can actually contribute to a prolonged attack.

Heading off the pain

Migraine medication targets certain brain receptors to stop or minimize an attack. As your migraine progresses, more and more neurotransmitters get involved and attach to these receptors.

Think of taking your medication at the first signs of an attack as raising the drawbridge on those more stubborn neurotransmitters.

Migraine medications target certain brain receptors to stop or minimize an attack

So next time you’re tempted to wait it out, try these steps instead:

  • Take your medication as soon as you feel pain. Chances are you’ll beat the attack with less medication. You may have a prescription from your doctor, or you can use Advil® or other over the counter medication for migraines with mild to moderate pain.
  • Choose fast-acting medications, like Advil® Liqui-Gels®.
  • Always follow the directions on the label.
  • Eliminate any triggers and practice self-care.
  • If you aren’t getting the relief you need, talk to your doctor.

What else can you do?

There are some preventative treatments, such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation and dietary supplements, which research has shown to help minimize the frequency and pain of attacks in some people. Talk to your doctor about complementing your medical treatment with these preventative measures.