Most common side-effects of migraine headache drugs

by Dr. Chi
May 22, 2018

Migraine headaches can be life-threatening if one does not seek medical attention as soon as possible. Fortunately, there many treatments and remedies for migraine headaches that one can try to improve their condition. It is now possible to prevent or effectively treat migraines with the discovery of new medications if there is proper administration.

The severity of your headaches can be reduced when they are treated using various treatments. However, most migraine headaches drugs are accompanied by some severe side effects that make some people fear to take the medications. The ever-increasing concerns about the side effects associated with migraine drugs make some patients with chronic migraine headaches to avoid or delay taking the prescribed drugs.

Most of the migraine drugs are preventive rather than abortive, and this may be the reason why they lead to many side effects. It is important to point out that some of the migraine drugs are also used to treat other conditions. The following are the most important migraine headache drugs with their related side-effects:


Triptans are used as an abortive medication for both cluster and migraine headaches. The drugs belong to the Tryptamine family. Some of the side-effects associated with Triptans include;

Chest tightness


Beta-blockers are typically used to treat a wide range of conditions including migraines and high blood pressure. The drugs are sometimes referred to as beta-adrenergic blocking agents and examples of such medications include Propranolol, Nebivolol (Bystolic), Bisoprolol (Zebeta), Atenolol (Tenormin), and Acebutolol (Sectral).

Some of the significant side effects associated with beta-blockers include:

Low blood pressure


The drug is an FDA approved the medication for migraines and was initially used as an anticonvulsant. In most instances, the drug is typically used to treat epilepsy among adults and children as compared to migraines treatment. Topiramate is a preventive medication for migraines and is known to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.

However, the drug has some side-effects that include:

Weight Loss
Loss of appetite
Tingling of legs and hands
General Weakness


It is an anticonvulsant drug that is used for migraine headaches. Apart from controlling seizures, the drug relieves nerve pain that can sometimes lead to migraines. The drug is available in the form of oral solutions, tablets, and capsules. Gabapentin comes with side-effects like other migraine headache drugs.

The most notable side-effects for Gabapentin include:

Weight gain
Dry mouth
Visual changes

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants help in relieving depression by affecting neurotransmitters. The drug leads to changes in brain communication and chemistry by blocking the absorption of norepinephrine and serotonin hence increasing their concentration in one’s brain.

The side effects of this drug are brought by its tendency to impact chemical messengers in the brain. The anti-depressants can cause:

Decreased libido
Dry mouth
Weight gain



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