When is prophylactic medication prescribed for migraines?

Migraine FAQs: When is prophylactic medication prescribed for migraines?

For some, taking medications on a regular basis helps prevent migraines. This is called prophylactic treatment of migraine.

When medicine is taken after a migraine attack has started, it is considered using abortive medications for migraines.

Prophylactic medications are usually prescribed for patients who frequently have very severe migraine attacks, particularly if medications taken during the attacks don’t work and if all other measures to prevent migraines failed. Doctors may also prescribe medicine if migraines cause three or more missed days of work or school per month. The medication may have to be taken for weeks or months before it is fully effective in avoiding migraines.

Once the medication has worked to prevent migraines, the physician may gradually stop the medicine after a year or so to see if the migraines stay away. Some patients remain migraine free for a while afterwards. The medication may need to be restarted if the migraines return.