A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
Many people also have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.
There are several types of migraine, including:
migraine with aura – where there are specific warning signs just before the migraine begins, such as seeing flashing lights
migraine without aura – the most common type, where the migraine occurs without the specific warning signs
migraine aura without headache, also known as silent migraine – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache doesn’t develop
Some people have migraines frequently, up to several times a week. Other people only have a migraine occasionally. It’s possible for years to pass between migraine attacks.
When to seek medical advice
You should see your GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.
Simple painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be effective for migraine. However, be careful not to take too many painkillers as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.
You should also make an appointment to see your GP if you have frequent migraines (on more than five days a month), even if they can be controlled with medication, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.
Causes of migraines
The exact cause of migraines is unknown, although they’re thought to be the result of temporary changes in the chemicals, nerves and blood vessels in the brain.
Around half of all people who experience migraines also have a close relative with the condition, suggesting that genes may play a role.
Some people find migraine attacks are associated with certain triggers, which can include:
poor quality sleep
neck or shoulder tension
low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
strenuous exercise, if you’re not used to it
starting their period
missed, delayed or irregular meals
the food additive tyramine
caffeine products, such as tea and coffee
specific foods such as chocolate, citrus fruit and cheese
flickering screens, such as a television or computer screen
smoking (or smoky rooms)
changes in climate, such as changes in humidity or very cold temperatures
a stuffy atmosphere
There’s no cure for migraines, but a number of treatments are available to help reduce the symptoms.
painkillers – including over-the-counter medicationssuch as paracetamol and ibuprofen
triptans – medications that can help reverse the changes in the brain that may cause migraines
anti-emetics – medications often used to reduce nausea and vomiting
During an attack, many people find that sleeping or lying in a darkened room can also help.
If you suspect a specific trigger is causing your migraines, such as stress or a certain type of food, avoiding this trigger may help reduce your risk of experiencing migraines.
It may also help to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, sleep and meals, as well as ensuring you stay well hydrated and limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
If your migraines are severe or you’ve tried avoiding possible triggers and are still experiencing symptoms, your GP may prescribe medication to help prevent further attacks.
Migraines can severely affect your quality of life and stop you carrying out your normal daily activities. Some people find they need to stay in bed for days at a time.
However, a number of effective treatments are available to reduce the symptoms and prevent further attacks.
Migraine attacks can sometimes get worse over time, but they tend to gradually improve over many years for most people.
Zomig Nasal Spray
Zomig nasal spray is the popular branded form of the drug zolmitriptan. It provides a fast-acting treatment for migraines and can provide relief in just 30 minutes. The availability of a nasal spray means that Zomig is suitable for individuals who have trouble taking tablets. Relying too much on oral head pain medication for extended periods of time can result in ‘rebound headaches’ — head pain caused by the medication. The use of a nasal spray can help lower your risk of suffering these.
Migraine symptoms may be caused by swollen blood vessels in the head. Zolmitriptan is thought to reduce the widening of these blood vessels. This helps to take away the headache and other symptoms of a migraine attack, such as feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting) and being sensitive to light and sound.
Zolmitriptan belongs to a group of medicines called triptans(also known as 5-HT1 receptor agonists). Triptans can relieve symptoms when more traditional treatments such as painkillers have been ineffective. Traditional painkillers like Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can be beneficial by providing some temporary relief and mask the pain, but often are just not enough.
Zolmitriptan provides fast-acting relief from symptoms of even severe migraine. IT can also help nausea, stiffness in the neck and shoulders and sensitivity to light and sound. For those who have trouble taking tablets, it is also available as a nasal spray and in orodispersible form.
Using Zomig Nasal Spray
Zomig Nasal Spray comes in a ready-to-use spray unit. Each unit contains 5 mg of zolmitriptan.
Each unit is for single use and gives only one dose.
Always use this medicine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. Check with your doctor
or pharmacist if you are not sure.
You can use Zomig Nasal Spray as soon as a migraine headache starts. You can also use it once an
attack is underway.
The recommended dose is one spray (5 mg) in one nostril. It does not matter which nostril you
You can use another spray if the migraine is still present after two hours or if it returns within
If the nasal spray did not give you enough help with your migraine, tell your doctor. Your doctor
may change your treatment.
Do not use more than the dose prescribed for you.
Do not use more than two spray doses in one day.
The maximum daily dose is 10 mg.
For Instructions on how to use the spray follow the manufacturer’s Instructions.
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Some of the symptoms below could be part of the migraine attack itself.
Stop using Zomig Nasal Spray and contact your doctor straight away if you notice any of the following:
Rare (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people)
Allergic reactions including itchy rash (urticaria) and swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue and throat.
Very rare (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people)
Angina (pain in the chest, often brought on by exercise), heart attack or spasm of the blood vessels of the heart. The signs include chest pain and shortness of breath.
Spasm of the blood vessels of the gut, which can cause damage to your gut. The signs include stomach pain or bloody diarrhoea.
Bleeding in the brain (cerebral bleeding) or stroke.
Other possible side effects include:
Very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people):
This is usually mild and goes away after a short time.
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people):
These are usually mild and go away after a short time.
Abnormal sensations such as tingling in your fingers and toes or skin that is sensitive to touch.
Feeling sleepy, dizzy or warm.
Uneven heart beat.
Nose bleed, irritation in the nose or the nose being more sensitive than usual.
Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting).
Muscle weakness or muscle pain.
Heaviness, tightness, pain or pressure in the throat, neck, arms and legs or chest.
For a full list of side Effects see manufacturers
Paitient Information Leaflet