1 in 10 people in the U.S don’t take their medication as prescribed due to cost. Among those who suffer from chronic conditions like migraines, this number jumps even higher. But taking migraine medication consistently is often the only way for sufferers to maintain a quality of life.
Money is the crux of the problem, but there are ways you can treat your migraines without breaking the bank. This article will give you a rundown of the different ways to treat migraines and how you can save money on your medication.
Natural remedies can be a boon to people unable to afford migraine medication. They range from topical remedies to diet and lifestyle changes.
Some foods can be triggers for migraines. Common triggers are foods that contain:
- Artificial flavoring
Keeping a food diary can help you narrow down which trigger foods affect you in particular. While avoiding trigger foods generally doesn’t work 100%, it can help you lessen the number of migraines you suffer.
Stress-reducing exercises like yoga can have a marked effect on the number and intensity of migraines. Moderate regular exercise has also been proven to lessen the frequency of migraine attacks.
Ice packs can help lessen the severeness of migraine symptoms. Using them is a form of cold therapy, meaning heat is extracted from the affected area. This has a numbing effect which can dull the throbbing or piercing sensations that come with a migraine.
If your migraines aren’t severe, often over-the-counter medications can help. They’re often cheaper than prescription migraine medication as well.
Medications like naproxen or ibuprofen can help reduce the pain of a migraine. Studies show that approximately 50% of those who suffer migraines will have pain relief within two hours of taking ibuprofen.
Aspirin can be used to prevent migraine attacks, though its impact on the stomach doesn’t encourage long-term use. It’s also shown to be effective if taken during the warning phase — called the prodrome — of a migraine attack.
While anti-inflammatory painkillers are often more effective in treating migraines, paracetamol can also help.
Taking the full dose up front is often recommended rather than micro-dosing over the course of the migraine. Soluble tablets are often best as they’re absorbed more quickly than solid forms of the medication.
If your migraines are particularly severe or you find over-the-counter migraine medication doesn’t work then prescription medications could be right for you. Some common prescription migraine drugs include:
Triptans aren’t painkillers, but rather work by imitating a chemical called serotonin in your brain. They include:
Triptans cause dilated blood vessels in the brain to constrict and can reduce the release of chemicals usually produced during a migraine attack.
Ergotamines come from a type of fungus, called ergot. The fungus grows on grains like wheat, rye, and barley.
They appear the most effective for people whose migraines last a long period of time. It’s unknown how exactly ergotamines work to treat migraine symptoms. They constrict the blood vessels in the brain, which some researchers think may be the reason they’re an effective treatment.
Anticonvulsants are typically used to treat epilepsy but have proved effective as a preventative medication in the treatment of migraines as well.
Just like a lot of migraine medication, doctors aren’t certain exactly how anticonvulsants work to prevent migraines. They’re thought to impact certain brain and nervous system chemicals, called neurotransmitters. They may also affect the electrical signals between nerve and brain cells.
Beta-blockers are typically used to prevent the onset of migraines. They work to relax and open up the blood vessels to increase blood circulation. They also block the effects of adrenaline, slow the heartbeat, and reduce blood pressure.
Studies show that up to 80% of patients on beta-blockers experience a 50% reduction of migraine frequency.
How You Can Save Money On Your Migraine Medication
Rising drug prices impact migraine sufferers every day, especially when attacks interfere with work. Staying on top of preventative migraine medications is sometimes the only way to maintain a busy home, social, and work life. But how can you better afford your medications?
1. Make Sure You’re Using Your Insurance’s Preferred Brands
Every insurance company has a list of prescriptions they will cover, called a formulary. Formularies are notoriously hard to navigate, but thankfully most big insurance companies have price-comparison tools available online.
Using price comparison tools, you can make sure you’re using your insurance plan’s preferred medications. You can also use it to shop around for a company that covers the medications you need.
2. Use a Price Comparison Tool
There are a lot of tools online that will let you compare online pharmacies or even the medication prices themselves.
It’s important you make sure you’re using a reputable tool, though. A good comparison tool, like, DrugPricer.com, is committed to listing only safe, reputable online pharmacies that:
- Hold a valid pharmacy license.
- Adhere to strict quality and safety standards.
- Show that they comply with requisite verification standards.