Medications that trigger migraines

Different medications may trigger migraines

Sometimes your migraine trigger can come from a medication that you are consuming to treat another medical issue.  Medications that have been known to cause headaches in susceptible people are:

  • medications prescribed for controlling high blood pressure and arthritis
  • estrogen replacement therapy (ERT)
  • antibiotics
  • medications to relieve chest pain
  • diet pills

In fact, many of these medications can even cause headaches in people who are not usually prone to migraines.


One good example of a medication that can trigger typical migraine headaches is nitroglycerin. While this medication may also lead to headaches in non-migraineurs, it can cause devastating migraines in susceptible people within just a few minutes.

Indomethacin and NSAIDS

Indomethacin and other nonsteroidal/anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can be effective in helping the migraine sufferers but at the same time can also cause an intense headache that is associated with an inflammatory response in the brain membranes. Withdrawal from this medication can lead to a severe headache.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin are also associated with migraines. The use of these illegal drugs can cause headaches and migraines. There are also cases where some people eventually became addicted to cocaine due to the drug’s effect on the migraine. Headaches from cocaine can occur immediately after the use of the drug or during the withdrawal phases.