Most migraine patients need only abortive treatment for their headaches. By the time they present to a physician, they have already tried many over-the-counter medications for headache relief. Prioritizing treatment according to headache severity and associated symptoms will help the physician determine the most appropriate medications to use. Narcotics should be reserved for use only in patients unresponsive to adequate trials of non-narcotic agents. In some patients, the recurrent nausea and vomiting can be as disabling as the pain; antiemetic agents are an important adjunct to analgesic therapy in these patients. Sumatriptan and dihydroergotamine are more expensive than other migraine agents but have distinct therapeutic advantages in patients with moderate to severe headaches. Some patients experience rebound headache from overuse of analgesics and other headache medications. Educating patients about self-help measures and avoidance of triggers is an important element in the effective management of migraine headaches.