If you suffer from chronic, debilitating migraines, you may have already tried about every home remedy and lifestyle change you've been able to research, with little lasting effect. These migraines can leave regular headaches in the dust, rendering you unable to function as you battle with searing pain, nausea, light sensitivity, and other unpleasant and lingering symptoms.
Unfortunately, many prescription painkillers can make certain symptoms even worse, leaving you drowsy or vomiting until the migraine has passed and the medication has fully left your system. For those who don't completely benefit from prescription painkillers or other migraine treatments, one of several types of nasal spray may be able to bring long-awaited relief. Read on to learn more about how these treatments work to decide whether they're worth investigating.
Capsaicin nasal spray
The active ingredient in this nasal spray is derived from the chemical that makes peppers hot, so it can sting a bit—but for many it brings relief by desensitizing the trigeminal nerve between your sinuses and brain, reducing inflammation and minimizing the pain response searing through your brain and central nervous system. Although this relief only lasts until the nasal spray wears off, if capsaicin nasal spray is used in the early stages of a migraine, it may be enough to keep it at a dull headache rather than a full-blown attack.
If you experience any nasal swelling or other irritation after repeated use of this nasal spray, you should stop using it until you've talked to your doctor. However, in most cases, you'll have few to no side effects and may be able to stave off your worst migraines by acting quickly once you begin to notice symptoms.
Sumatriptan nasal spray
This spray operates by stimulating the serotonin receptors in the brain, helping compensate for any lack of serotonin being produced by your endocrine system and minimizing the inflammation and stress on your nervous system. Although it usually needs to be taken as early as possible during a migraine attack, it can be effective when taken later, as well. This makes it a good option for those who don't react well to capsaicin spray or who don't get any warning signs of a migraine attack before it strikes.
This nasal spray is available by prescription only; your doctor may want to monitor your symptoms when you begin using it so that he or she can start to gauge its effectiveness. If this medication works for you, you may find it possible to wean yourself off other medications you're taking to manage your migraines. Once you're on just the spray, it'll diminish the chance of a negative interaction and allow you to go about your daily lifestyle without worrying about what you'll do when or if a migraine suddenly hits.
Dihydroergotamine nasal spray
This nearly unpronounceable nasal spray works by tightening blood vessels in the brain to reduce inflammation, much like consuming caffeine can get rid of a nagging headache. This nasal spray can be highly effective against even the most stubborn migraines, but has a potentially negative interaction with quite a few other medications, so it's important to review everything you're taking with your doctor to ensure it's safe for you to use this nasal spray before your first dose.
In some cases, your doctor may even be able to administer an injection of dihydroergotamine during an office visit to see how you react to the drug and whether it works well to treat your migraines. If you do find that this drug is effective and you're not dealing with many side effects, you can opt to give yourself regular injections when you feel an impending migraine or simply use the nasal spray.
Learn more about your options by contacting resources like Dymista.