National Migraine Centre

What is your OTC Painkiller of choice for Migraine (UK)?

As we know, for some of us nothing really works to take away the pain - after years of trial and error with meds.

Been through the spectrum of painkillers.

By far I find the most effective to be Alka Seltzer, the effect of the aspirin and effervescence does offer *some* relief. That is, only if it's a, say, 1 to 4 (out of 10) non-vomiting migraine pain - not a "monster 10" - then nothing touches the sides.

What is your painkiller of choice?

(A post on here mentioned sea sickness pills - now there's something I haven't yet tried)

12 Replies

I have Hughes Syndrome/APS - Sticky Blood, otherwise known as Antiphospholipid Syndrome. A condition described by Professor Graham Hughes over 30 years ago, despite this, it is frequently missed especially by Neurologists.

It is an autoimmune disease, sufferers often have other family members with migraines, other autoimmune diseases, including Thyroid problems, also relatives who have had early heart attacks or strokes, plus a history of miscarriage or still birth in the family. The migraines are severe but improve either Aspirin or Anticoagulaton. I am two Aspirin a day which has greatly improved things for me, same for all my children. I have several other autoimmune diseases myself including Systemic Lupus. MaryF

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similar to what you've said with a couple of extra 'ingredients' ...recommended by a NMC Dr:

Dispersible asprin, in a can of coke, with an anti sickness pill all in combination.

Works better at the onset stage than anything else I've tried including the selection of triptans. . . .as long as I take it when the aura starts it greatly helps with the pain and even aborts a migraine a lot of the time.

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Domperidone is the sickness pill I get over the counter. . . .was explained to me that not only does it stop you feeling sick, but keeps your digestive system running which helps get the painkiller into your system.

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Migraleve (pink). Works wonders. Only if I take within seconds of getting visual disturbance though


I'm with Tom 3 dispersable aspirin do help a bit if taken at first inkling a head is on the way. Otherwise Imigran.


mine too!


1000mg dispersible aspirin for acute pain although I will also often try to avoid drugs and use ginger dissolved in apple juice.


.......if aspirin/ginger doesn't work then Sumitriptan!


Thanks All for your input.

Aspirin does seem to be effective to an extent.

Will try some Domperidone, thanks Tom. Sometimes my digestive system closes down, other times not.

Apparently the French use suppository painkillers (yoiks). I've tried Paracetamol suppositories in the past - they were more effective than tablets - but wouldn't use again.

MaryF, thanks for comments - I too definitely have some autoimmune issues going on - awaiting GP more blood results for inflammatory markers - my hands are so painful these days and I feel very much like I may have something like Fybromyalgia, tired all the time, achy, exhausted. My mother had Rheumatoid Arthritis which affected all of her body and her lungs too.

I find that Sumitriptan makes me feel more ill and zonked out these days and increases palpitations.

For some reason Migraleve makes me feel (more) vile too.

Over the years I find that the migraine takes on so many different formats, eg. recent development - sometimes it doesn't make it full blown on the right side so transfers to the left. Almost like it has to have the last word. Nice.

Ginger is something I have yet to try, thanks for the suggestion.

Apple Cider Vinegar has also been recommended.

Trial and error, all the way people.


I too have these types of migraines related to auto immune disorder. I have Behcet's which is a form of vasculitis and had migraine and associated seizures which were finally controlled with interferon.

The reason aspirin works for some people is that these types of migraines are caused by inflammation (not all migraine but this specific type). Aspirin is an effective anti inflammatory. I was recommended to take a daily dose of aspirin by a previous specialist I saw for vasculitis.


Thanks for this information Magirose - interesting to know that there is an inflammatory element to some type of migraine. Aspirin is the only painkiller that makes a dent in the migraine.




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