Abortive Care

Navigating how and when to treat different migraine attacks

Migraine Toolbox-horizontal

Currently, there is no cure for migraine, and preventive treatment rarely prevents all migraine attacks. As a result, it is important for people with migraine to talk with their HCP about migraine abortives in addition to having an attack-based care plan. An attack-based care approach recognizes that not all migraine attacks are the same. Treatment plans may differ based on many different factors. The timing of the attack, its pain level, symptoms, triggers and responsibilities all play a role in how you might best treat a migraine.

It is also important to be aware that there are four phases to a migraine attack:  Prodrome, Aura, Attack, Postdrome. It is often during the attack phase that we start treatment. However, full-blown attacks may need more aggressive treatment than an attack that is just beginning or still in the prodrome or aura phase. Creating an attack-based treatment plan may take some trial and error, so as you partner with your doctor (or HCP), we encourage you to explore our website for resources to help you find the treatment options that work best for you.

CLICK HERE to explore our Migraine Treatment Toolbox


How you treat your migraine attack depends on if you are in the beginning, middle, or full-blown stage of an attack. Catching a migraine attack when it first starts and treating it properly can keep it from getting worse. If you have a full-blown attack that includes symptoms such as vision impairment, dizziness, vertigo, and vomiting, you may need a totally different treatment plan for more intense symptoms. Work with your doctor to develop an attack-based care management plan that includes treatments for different stages of migraine attacks. Learn more about treatment options based on timing.

Pain Level

Sometimes migraine attack pain increases slowly over time. Other times, attacks can go from level 1 to 10 in just minutes. Where you are on the pain scale will help you decide how to treat your attack. There are many attack-based care treatment options available. Knowing which migraine treatment to use when your pain level is low versus when your pain level is high can be challenging. It’s important to talk with your doctor ahead of time about what you should take, when a second dose might be allowed, and when you should consider going to a more aggressive rescue plan. Learn more about treatment options based on pain level.


Many of us may have similar migraine-related symptoms like head pain and nausea, but we know that no two people will experience migraine attacks in exactly the same way. With each attack, some people experience the same symptoms. Other people may experience bewildering changes in symptoms from attack to attack. It’s important to identify all four phases of migraine (Prodrome, Aura, Attack and Postdrome), and to initiate treatment as early as possible. Learn more about treatment options based on symptoms.


It's hard to pinpoint migraine triggers, which is one of the most difficult aspects of migraine life. As a matter of fact, some triggers can result in more resistant attacks, faster escalating attacks, or more debilitating attacks, while others tend to result in less severe attacks. Knowing what triggered your migraine attack can help you quickly determine an attack-based care treatment plan. In some cases, the best treatment is rest and over-the-counter medications. In others you may be able to abort an attack with a medical device. And in still others you may need to jump straight into your full-strength rescue medication and adjust activity. Learn more about treatment options based on triggers.


When it comes to migraine, it can be overwhelming to think about responsibilities. It may not be feasible to take certain treatments based on our life responsibilities at any given time. Understanding when pushing through an attack can worsen or prolong it, versus stopping and cancelling plans, is one of the greatest challenges of managing migraine. Working, driving, and taking care of children can all take priority over treatment at times, but there can also be consequences to that and increase the risk of an attack lasting a long time, or the disease chronifying. In addition, all medications come with warnings, and the potential side effects vary greatly. For instance, a medication may make you sleepy and unable to drive, or you may not be able to take care of very young children. Talk with your doctor about how to manage life responsibilities with appropriate migraine treatments. Learn more about balancing treatment options and responsibilities.

Download and print our Attack-Based Care Guide!

Use it to help you figure out how best treat your next attack. You can also bring it to your next doctor's appointment and ask your doctor which options would be good to add to your personal migraine treatment toolbox.