Suffering from migraine headaches can be very difficult because of the severity and intensity of pain that accompany them. Two good treatments that are commonly used are ergot and midrin migraine medications. However, any medication that contains these compounds comes with some serious side effects that every migraine sufferer needs to be aware of.
Ergots are a class of compounds that are similar to triptans. Technically, ergots are referred to as 5-HT1B/1D agaonists. Ergots work by blocking natural biochemicals from getting to the nerve receptors. Ergots also work well for many people who suffer from migraine headaches. Studies show that you should be careful when using ergots even though they are relatively safe. They do have a higher risk of side effects compared to other triptans, including Maxalt and Zomig.
A form of ergot called DHE (dihydroergotamine) is available as a nasal spray. This form allows the medication to enter the bloodstream quickly because the membranes in the nasal cavity are very thin. However, like the other form of ergots (e.g., Wigraine, Ergomar, Cafergot, etc.), DHE does have some side effects.
Ergots work by constricting the blood vessels, and they do this very effectively, so much so that this also becomes ergots’ main drawback. Ergots can cause too much constriction, which in turn can create problems in people who have heart or kidney conditions.
For many years, it was believed that migraine headaches were the result of dilated blood vessels. The pressure was believed to cause the severe pain associated with migraines. However, newer research seems to indicate that migraines are genetic in nature. It has to do with abnormal cells in the brain that have been passed down from the parents. Thus, the constriction of the blood vessels may only be happening in the heart.
Many people get nauseated and throw up when they use ergots. This is one of the worst symptoms of a migraine. Triptans help to relieve nausea, but using triptans is not recommended for pregnant women. Triptans can lead to miscarriages as it is known to make the uterus contract.
Midrin is used for both tension headaches and migraines. Midrin is a combination of isometheptene, which causes blood vessels to constrict, dichloalphezaone, which is a mild sedative, and acetaminophen, which helps relieve pain. There are plenty of risks associated with using midrin and people who have high blood pressure, kidney disease or glaucoma are advised against taking midrin. Skin rashes and dizziness are two common side effects of midrin.
Medications like ergots and midrin are classified as “abortive” drugs because they work once the migraine headache is already under way. This distinguishes ergots and midrin from prophylactics, which work to prevent the headaches from occurring at all. The earlier into the migraine headache the person takes such drugs, the better the results will be. Ergots and midrin can be a very effective way to treat migraines for many people. It is important to work with your doctor to find the right migraine medication for your needs.