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偏頭痛の女性
偏頭痛の女性

辛い片頭痛を事前に防ぐ!自分に合った予防薬を選ぶには?

片頭痛の女性

様々な予兆や前兆を伴って発作的に起こる片頭痛。症状が重い場合には日常生活すら困難になり、寝込んでしまうこともあるほどです。そんな厄介者の片頭痛ですが、できることなら予防したい、症状を軽くしたいと思いますよね。

本記事では、片頭痛が起こるメカニズムと、それを予防・軽減する方法、そして片頭痛の予防によく使われている予防薬について紹介します。片頭痛に悩まされている方、片頭痛になるかもしれないと不安になっている方は、ぜひ参考にしてみてください。

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片頭痛の起こるメカニズム

片頭痛で薬を飲む女性

多くの頭痛持ちの方が訴える頭痛に、緊張型頭痛というものがあります。うっかり自分がこのタイプの頭痛だと思って対処をすると、逆効果になることがあります。片頭痛は緊張型とは逆で、頭の血管が拡張することにより周囲の神経が刺激されて発生する頭痛と言われています。この頭痛に苦しまされている時には血管が炎症を起こしており、そのためズキズキ、ガンガンといったとても辛い症状に悩まされてしまいます。

なぜ頭の血管が拡張するの?

頭の血管が拡張する理由としては、食べ物やアルコールなどの摂取がきっかけとなったり、ストレスや緊張からの解放、睡眠不足、睡眠過多などが原因となることが多いようです。ある期間続いた緊張が緩んだり、不規則な睡眠によって過剰に血管が拡張してしまうことで起こります。

まずは生活習慣の見直しをしてみる

このように片頭痛の原因は多岐にわたりますが、複数の要因が複雑に絡み合った結果起こっていることが多いでしょう。ですから特定の原因を突き止めようとせず、全般的な生活を見直してみることが有効です。
例えば、ストレスの多い生活をしていないか?睡眠は規則正しく適正な時間取れているか?など、改めて見直してみると気付くことがあるはずです。しかし、これらの生活習慣を改善しても、片頭痛に悩まされ続けてしまう方が大勢いるのも事実です。そうなると、やはり薬に頼らざるを得なくなります。市販薬も豊富な種類が出ていますが、頻繁に薬を服用する必要があるなら、やはり医療機関を受診して処方薬を使いたいところです。

片頭痛の予防薬にはどんなものがある?

片頭痛の予防薬には作用の違いで5種類ほどあります。
まず1つめは「カルシウム拮抗薬」。これは血管収縮作用のあるカルシウムイオンが細胞内に侵入するのを防ぐことで予防します。2つ目は「抗うつ薬」で、不安やストレスが多い場合に用います。3つ目は発作の前兆が表れた時に血管を収縮させる「エルゴタミン製剤」。これは全身の血管を収縮させるため、心臓疾患のある方や高齢者は避けたほうが良い薬です。また、血管内のβ受容体に作用して血管の拡張を防ぐ「β遮断剤」、そして血管拡張作用のあるセロトニンの働きを抑制する「抗セロトニン薬」です。
こうした予防薬の他に、実際に発作が起きた時の症状を緩和する薬もあります。症状の緩和についても、拡張してしまった血管を収縮させるものや血管の炎症を抑える作用を持った薬など、多くの種類があります。

どれを使うかは医師や薬剤師に相談すること

辛い片頭痛の発作を少しでも減らしたい、症状を緩和したいと思って、いろいろな薬を試してみたくなるかもしれません。しかし薬には副作用などの望まない効果がつきものです。特に頻繁に片頭痛の発作に悩まされている場合は、薬も常用しがちになってしまいます。あまりにも片頭痛が頻発するようなら、片頭痛以外の疾病の可能性もあります。そうした不安を払拭し、適正な薬の処方を受けるためにも、やはり医療機関を受診しておく方が安心です。

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片頭痛の予防薬を使用するなら、まず医療機関に相談

本記事では、片頭痛の簡単なメカニズムとその対処法についてお伝えしました。日常生活でも改善すべきところは改善し、その上で片頭痛の予防薬を適切に使えば、より発作を予防することが可能でしょう。特に睡眠に関して問題がある場合、片頭痛の発生率も増えてくるようです。自分は寝不足なのか、あるいは眠りすぎなのか。こうしたことも見直すポイントとして意識してみましょう。

また、片頭痛の予防薬としては5種類ほどあるともお伝えしました。

  • カルシウム拮抗薬
  • 抗うつ薬
  • エルゴタミン製剤
  • β遮断剤
  • 抗セロトニン薬

これだけの種類の予防薬があれば、それだけ予防できる可能性が増える一方、自分だけで自分に合う薬を見つけるのは大変です。だからこそ専門家である医師と相談をしながら、最も良い薬を探し出すことが重要になってきます。一見、遠回りに見える医療機関の受診ですが、医師には多くの片頭痛の方を診察している経験があります。そうした経験に基づいた判断を仰げるため、これが最も早く、また安全な方法でもあります。
少しでも早く片頭痛の発作から解放されるためにも、本記事を参考に生活習慣の改善や医療機関で予防薬について相談してみてください。

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