Many people rely on migraine drugs to relieve the pain from their headaches once they start. But just how effective are these migraine drugs? That depends on the drug. Treatment effectiveness ranges from moderate to poor. There are no very effective drugs for migraine relief, unfortunately. This means that it’s good to try to avoid migraines to the extent that it’s possible.

Young business man under stress with headache and migraine

Summarizing Effectiveness of Migraine Drugs

An Australian blogger took the time to summarize the treatment effectiveness of various acute migraine drugs. He took his data from the Cochrane Reviews, which are well-respected meta-analyses of all studies that have been performed on a particular treatment. Here is a summary of his findings, showing how many people would get full relief from moderate to severe migraine pain (unless otherwise noted, administration route is oral):

  • Sumatriptain (injection) 59%
  • Sumatriptan 32%
  • Zolmitriptan 30%
  • Ibuprofen 26%
  • Sumatriptan (nasal spray) 24%
  • Aspirin 24%
  • Diclofenac 22%
  • Acetaminophen 19%
  • Naproxen 17%

Injectable sumatriptan is, far and away, the most effective medication to stop a migraine treatment. But it still has less than a three in five chance of stopping migraine pain. And most other approaches to treating acute migraine pain are far less effective: almost nothing else gives more than 25% of people complete relief from migraine.

Will These Drugs Really Help 90% of Migraine Sufferers?

Although the overall summary is good work, the blogger makes the mistake of asserting that these drugs will help more than 90% of migraine sufferers. He arrived at this figure by multiplying the percentage of people who didn’t get relief from each of the migraine drugs by the percentage of people who didn’t get relief from the next one. (i.e. 0.41*0.68*0.70 . . . etc)

Although this is one “statistical” method for figuring out the percentage of people who might not be helped by any of the drugs, it’s probably not a valid approach. The statistical method assumes that the number of people affected by each drug is independent of the number affected by other drugs, but the truth is that so many of the drugs are closely related to one another, it’s unlikely that we’d see more than 75% of people getting full relief using migraine drugs.

Try Drug-Free Prevention

With so many people unable to get successful relief from migraines, it’s good to try migraine prevention whenever possible. And because all migraine drugs (both preventive and abortive) can have serious side effects, there are benefits to trying to get relief without drugs, which can include avoiding migraine triggers.

TMJ treatment isn’t effective for every migraine sufferer, but it does offer a drug-free approach to migraine prevention that can reduce your reliance on abortive migraine drugs–especially welcome if you aren’t seeing relief. Consider signs that might indicate TMJ is responsible for your migraine.

To learn whether TMJ treatment may be effective for your migraines in Wilmington, NC, please call (910) 392-6060 today for an appointment with neuromuscular dentist Dr. Michael J. Kuzma at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.