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How to Use Prednisone for Migraine Headaches

author image Elizabeth Thatcher
Based outside Boston, Elizabeth Thatcher began writing health-related articles in 2007. Her work has appeared in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science," "Nature Genetics," "Journal of Cell Biology," "Developmental Dynamics," "RNA Biology" and "BMC Genomics." Thatcher earned a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Mercer University before starting medical research and receiving her doctorate in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University.
How to Use Prednisone for Migraine Headaches
Young woman with her hand on her head in pain. Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Prednisone, or Deltasone, is a corticosteroid utilized as a headache preventative. suggests that Prednisone is ideal to relieve the acute pain associated with status migraines, which are migraines with an extended headache phase lasting more than 5 hours. Prednisone mimics the function of endogenous steroids and you must closely follow the directives of your physician in order to prevent a steroid imbalance. Although the National Headache Foundation lists corticosteroids, like prednisone, as effective migraine preventatives, you should try to eliminate your migraines through tight regulation of your environment before subjecting yourself to the risk of taking a daily corticosteroid.

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Step 1

Consult a neurologist. You must first ensure that you are a good candidate to take prednisone as a migraine preventative. Many factors, such as blood clots, instigate migraines and cannot be stopped by taking prednisone. A neurologist can determine if corticosteroids are an ideal treatment to stop your migraines.

Step 2

Evaluate metabolic and lipid lab results. Prednisone’s possible side effects to kidney and liver function require that you receive regular lab results to check on your metabolic and lipid response to the medication.

Step 3

Ensure that you do not have any infections or a high risk of future infection. Prednisone’s primary function is to suppress your immune response. You should avoid contact with anyone who is sick while taking this medication. If you become sick, you should immediately contact your doctor to determine if you should reduce or stop taking prednisone.

Step 4

Take prednisone as prescribed. Your neurologist may prescribe a daily tablet to be taken at approximately the same time every day, or you may have to take the medication in a dosage packet that begins treatment with a large dose of prednisone and slowly decreases the amount over a two-week period.

Step 5

Follow a diet rich in calcium, potassium and low in salt. Fluid and sodium retention, along with potassium loss, are common side effects of prednisone. Diets low in salt and rich in potassium will act as a healthy preventative. Osteoporosis is a typical long-term side effect of prednisone use. If you are prescribed prednisone as a daily preventative medication, a diet rich in calcium will help prevent onset of osteoporosis.

Step 6

Slowly wean yourself off of prednisone under the supervision of your neurologist to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Headache, dizziness and disturbed sleep are common withdrawal symptoms associated with prednisone.

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