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How long do migraines last?

Dr. Charisse Litchman

Medically reviewed by Dr. Charisse Litchman, MD, FAHS on August 18, 2020

Migraine headaches usually last 4 to 72 hours. When a migraine ends, some people feel tired and “hungover” for another day or two. 

There are a number of medications you can take that may shorten the duration of a migraine or stop it entirely. Some medications work better for certain people than others. These medications include:

Over-the-counter painkillers

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Prescription anti-inflammatory medication

Prescription triptans: These work by stimulating serotonin (a chemical in the brain), reducing inflammation and narrowing the blood vessels, ultimately stopping the migraine. 

Ditans: These newer medications also work by increasing the effects of serotonin. 

CGRP blockers: These medications block the chemical CGRP. When released, CGRP causes the release of pain chemicals in the brain, so blocking CGRP causes the migraine to end quickly in most patients. 



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