Gabapentin is one drug that researchers have studied for preventing migraines. It has a high safety profile and few side effects. This makes it a good option for prevention.
Results from some clinical trials have shown a modest benefit from the use of gabapentin for migraine prevention. However, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the organization that provides guidance for the use of drugs to prevent migraines, has stated that there is not enough evidence at this time to support the use of gabapentin for migraine prevention. Healthcare professionals can choose to prescribe gabapentin when other prevention therapies have not worked, however.
Gabapentin is a drug that is approved to treat seizures in people with epilepsy. It is also approved to treat nerve pain from shingles, which is a painful rash caused by herpes zoster infection. It’s used off-label for migraine prevention.
Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. Anticonvulsants help calm nerve impulses. It is believed that this action can help prevent migraine pain.
This drug comes as a capsule, tablet, or solution. You take it by mouth. Gabapentin is available as the brand-name drugs Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant. It’s also available as a generic drug.
A migraine causes throbbing, pulsing pain, on one or both sides of your head. The pain is most often felt around the temples or behind one eye. Pain can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours.
Other symptoms often accompany migraines. For instance, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light are common during a migraine.
Migraines are different than headaches. What causes them isn’t well-understood. But there are known triggers, including stress.
According to the American Headache Society, about 4 out of 5 people with migraines report stress as a trigger. Relaxation following a period of high stress has also been identified as a possible migraine trigger.
So, what’s the connection between stress and migraines? We explain the research, symptoms, and coping strategies to get you feeling better, sooner.
A migraine is not just a headache. Migraines are usually more severe and last longer than headaches. Migraines can last as long as 72 hours. The major symptom of a migraine is pain that you usually feel on one side of your head. This pain is typically moderate or severe. Migraines also include other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to light and sound.
About 20% of people who have migraines experience an aura before the pain begins. An aura is a group of symptoms. You could have some or all of the following symptoms during a migraine aura:
- Changes in your vision, such as seeing squiggly lines or having short-term, partial vision loss
- Difficulty talking
- Tingling or numbness of any part of your body
It is not known exactly why people have migraines. However, some people can track their migraine back to a certain trigger. Migraine triggers can include stress, lack of sleep, certain foods, and even hormone changes during a menstrual cycle.
Some people can prevent migraines by avoiding triggers. Others have prevented migraines successfully through relaxation techniques, acupuncture, or exercise. However, these therapies alone don’t work for everyone. Some people also need treatment with medication to reduce the number of migraines they have. The drugs used to prevent migraines are different from drugs that to treat migraines once a migraine starts. Drugs that prevent migraines, such as gabapentin, must be taken on an ongoing basis to work properly.
Really pessimistic about starting these for episodic cluster headache, but tried in desperation. Ignored the “build up slowly from 300mg” advice and took 3x300mg straight away – spacing them out about an hour at a time over an evening. Effects were significant, but not unpleasant (a bit spacey and very relaxed). Had all the sensations of a headache that night, but without the pain. Since then, taking 300mg around 3 times per day and headaches completely under control. Again, still have sensations of headache, but the pain is down to a 1-2 from 8+. Sleeping like a baby, a little spacey in the morning the first couple of days, but pretty much no noticeable side effects now (other than I’ve been in a really good mood!) All-in-all – very impressed and would highly recommend for cluster headache / migraine.