Migraines | Prevention


Can medicine help prevent migraines?

Yes. Medicine to prevent migraines may be helpful if your headaches happen more than twice a month or if your headaches make it hard for you to work and function. Examples of medicines used to prevent migraines include propranolol, timolol, divalproex and some antidepressants.

Talk to your doctor about which medicine is best for you. Nonprescription and prescription medicines that are used often or in large doses may cause other problems.

What else can I do to prevent migraines?

While there are no sure ways to keep from having migraine headaches, here are some things that may help:

  • Eat regularly and do not skip meals.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise can help reduce tension as well as keep your weight in check. Obesity can contribute to migraines.
  • Look for things that might trigger an attack, such as too much exercise or physical activity, certain activities or stress. Sometimes, life stresses are a trigger. Many psychologists can teach stress management and/or biofeedback to help you manage stress.
  • Look for foods that might trigger an attack, such as cheese, processed meats, chocolate, caffeine, MSG (a preservative in many foods), nuts, pickles or one of the other foods listed above. About one third of people with migraines can identify food triggers. Your child only needs to avoid eating these foods if one of them triggers headaches.

If you have frequent migraine headaches, your doctor may prescribe a daily preventive medicine to try to make the headaches less frequent and less severe.


Headaches in Children and Adolescents by DW Lewis, M.D. (American Family Physician February 15, 2002, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020215/625.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 09/10
Created: 01/96