Each migraineur is an individual whose migraine attacks will be unique to them. This means the length of their attacks will differ from other sufferers, as will their symptoms, their attack frequency, and what treatments are effective for them.
Since not everyone will respond to every migraine treatment, it’s important to be able to find out if a treatment is effective quickly. If the treatment doesn’t work, it’s time to try something else. Sadly there is no out-and-out, problem-solved cure for migraines – so a 100% stop to migraines is not a plausible outcome to measure efficacy against.
Instead these are some questions which you can ask yourself:
- Are you pain-free in 2-4 hours?
- Are you able to function normally (or close to normal) in 3-4 hours?
- Does your headache respond to the treatment consistently at least 50% of the time?
- Are you comfortable with taking the treatment prescribed and still able to plan your day?
The American Migraine Association says that if you responded “no” to one or more of these questions then your treatment should be reassessed.
However, it normally takes a few months to see whether a migraine treatment is effective or not. So you do have to give it some time before deciding that a specific treatment is not for you.
It’s also worth asking whether you are taking your treatment early enough in the migraine attack for it to be effective. There is a “window of opportunity” which is typically the two hours after the onset of head pain. After this time there is less chance that the body will respond to the treatment.