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How Does Benadryl Cure a Migraine Headache?

2010 June 6

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It may be a wonder for you why an antihistamine is used as a medication for migraine. Most of the medicines that we hear about to treat a migraine attack are analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Actually, these pain relievers are the most common medications that are being used to treat migraine headaches. When the migraine is still severe after the use of such medication, your physician will often opt for stronger medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and other medications, which depends on the physician’s assessment.

Benadryl is an antihistamine, otherwise known by its generic name, diphenhydramine. It is mostly used for treating sneezing, runny nose (rinnorhea), itching, watery eyes, hives, rashes, and other signs and symptoms of allergic reactions and common colds. It is used for relieving nasal and non-nasal symptoms of allergic reactions, such as the very common seasonal allergic rhinitis. It is also used for treating motion sickness, mild cases of Parkinson’s disease and allergic conjunctivitis.

So how does Benadryl cure a migraine headache? During an allergic reaction, histamine is released by the body, which binds to its receptor cells, which leads to stimulating some changes within the cells that can lead to allergic reactions such as sneezing, itching, rashes, and others. Benadryl binds to the cell receptors instead of the histamine, doing so will stop the stimulation of the cells.

Also, benadryl blocks the actions of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of cardiac muscles, learning, memory and mood. When this neurotransmitter’s level is low, it can cause drowsiness. Benadryl has a sedative effect, causing a person who is taking it to be very sleepy. This is how it helps with migraine relief. It helps ease up with its sedative effect, reducing migraine pain.

Benadryl also helps by regulating the levels of serotonin in the body, which is a vasoconstrictive chemical. One of the causes of migraine is vasodilation of the blood vessels going to the brain. Benadryl also helps by constricting these blood vessels, reducing the pain.

There are side effects to benadryl. It may cause sedation, drowsiness, lowering of blood pressure, palpitations, thickening of oral and respiratory secretions, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal distress. You need to be aware of this as there is a high risk of accident if you are working or driving while taking this medication. It may also be responsible for confusion, loss of appetite, double visions and vision blurring.

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