Does Abilify help migraines?

In this article, we will discuss the potential benefits of taking Abilify (Aripiprazole) for migraine headaches. We will also talk about the current pharmacological treatment of migraine headaches and how you can ensure their safe and effective use. 

Does Abilify help migraines?

Abilify (Aripiprazole) may help manage migraine headaches in some people, but it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management and treatment of migraine (1,2).

Abilify is a medication primarily approved to treat certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (1). However, some individuals have reported experiencing relief from migraine headaches while taking Abilify. 

It is essential to note that using Abilify solely for migraines is not supported by medical guidelines or approved by regulatory agencies.

If you are experiencing migraines, it is important to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate treatment plan. Your doctor can recommend medications or therapies that can be effective for managing migraine headaches.

What does research suggest?

There is limited research on the beneficial effects of Abilify on migraine headaches. However, some research studies have shown a connection between migraine headaches and the use of Abilify. 

One research report shared three cases of women who suffered from migraines and also had psychiatric disorders. They were prescribed Aripiprazole, a dopamine modulator, to treat their mental health conditions (3). 

Surprisingly, they noticed a decrease in the frequency and intensity of their migraines as well. The report discussed how dopamine regulation might be working to alleviate migraines, but more research is needed to fully support that claim (3).

What is the possible mechanism through which Abilify can manage migraines?

Recent clinical evidence and genetic research suggest that dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, may be involved in migraine attacks. Certain symptoms before, during, and after migraines, such as mood changes, yawning, nausea, and tiredness, could be linked to the activation of dopamine (4). 

This suggests that dopamine activation may be a significant factor in certain types of migraines, especially those with prominent dopamine-related symptoms. Blocking these hyperactive dopamine receptors could be a potential approach in migraine treatment (4).

Since Abilify acts as a partial agonist at dopamine D2 receptors, it can both stimulate and inhibit dopamine signalling, depending on the brain region and the level of dopamine activity (5) This helps to balance dopamine levels in the brain, which can be beneficial for migraine headaches. 

What medications are approved for migraines?

Medications that are approved for the management and treatment of migraine include:

Over-the-counter painkillers

These are over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen that can help relieve mild to moderate migraine pain. These medications can block pain signals and Ibuprofen, including other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can also reduce inflammation (6).


Triptans are prescription drugs designed specifically for migraines. They work by narrowing blood vessels in the brain and reducing inflammation, which can help to relieve pain and other migraine symptoms (7). Triptans, like Sumatriptan, can be used with OTC painkillers like Tylenol for enhanced pain relief.

Lasmiditan (Reyvow)

Lasmiditan is another prescription medication used for acute migraine treatment. It works by targeting serotonin receptors in the brain, helping to reduce pain and associated symptoms (8).

Dihydroergotamine (Migranal, Trudhesa)

This is a prescription medication available as a nasal spray or injection (9). It belongs to the ergotamine class of drugs and is effective in treating moderate to severe migraines.

Oral calcitonin gene-related peptide antagonists (Gepants)

Gepants are a newer class of migraine medication that targets the calcitonin gene-related peptide, which is believed to play a role in migraine attacks (10). They help to block this peptide and alleviate migraine symptoms.

Intranasal Zavegepant (Zavzpret)

Zavgepant is another medication in the gepant class, but it is administered intranasally (through the nose). It offers an alternative delivery method for migraine relief. (10)

It’s important to note that while these medications are approved for migraines, they may not work the same way for everyone. If you experience frequent or severe migraines, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable treatment plan for you.

Final words

It is best to reach out to your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing migraine headaches. If your headaches are co-morbid with a psychiatric condition that Abilify can treat, using this antipsychotic can be beneficial for you. 

However, these things can only be decided by your healthcare provider and you should always avoid using medications which are not prescribed specifically for you. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ABILIFY (Aripiprazolee). Available from:,021713s030,021729s022,021866s023lbl.pdf


Kumar A, Singh H, Mishra A, Mishra AK. Aripiprazole: An FDA Approved Bioactive Compound to Treat Schizophrenia- A Mini Review. Curr Drug Discov Technol. 2020;17(1):23-29. doi: 10.2174/1570163815666181008151718. PMID: 30306873.


LaPorta LD. Relief from migraine headache with aripiprazole treatment. Headache. 2007 Jun;47(6):922-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2007.00777.x. PMID: 17578547.


Fanciullacci M, Alessandri M, Del Rosso A. Dopamine involvement in the migraine attack. Funct Neurol. 2000;15 Suppl 3:171-81. PMID: 11200788.


Gettu N, Saadabadi A. Aripiprazole. 2023 May 16. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613519.


Mayans L, Walling A. Acute Migraine Headache: Treatment Strategies. Am Fam Physician. 2018 Feb 15;97(4):243-251. PMID: 29671521.


Nicolas S, Nicolas D. Triptans. 2023 Mar 7. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 32119394.


DeJulio PA, Perese JK, Schuster NM, Oswald JC. Lasmiditan for the acute treatment of migraine. Pain Manag. 2021 Sep;11(5):437-449. doi: 10.2217/pmt-2021-0002. Epub 2021 Apr 12. PMID: 33840206.


Ziegler D, Ford R, Kriegler J, Gallagher RM, Peroutka S, Hammerstad J, Saper J, Hoffert M, Vogel B, Holtz N, et al. Dihydroergotamine nasal spray for the acute treatment of migraine. Neurology. 1994 Mar;44(3 Pt 1):447-53. doi: 10.1212/wnl.44.3_part_1.447. PMID: 8145914.


Ha DK, Kim MJ, Han N, Kwak JH, Baek IH. Comparative Efficacy of Oral Calcitonin-Gene-Related Peptide Antagonists for the Treatment of Acute Migraine: Updated Meta-analysis. Clin Drug Investig. 2021 Feb;41(2):119-132. doi: 10.1007/s40261-020-00997-1. Epub 2021 Jan 11. PMID: 33426614.