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Goodbye, Zonegran – Hello Petadolex!

Guess what, guess what, guess what?! I am officially weaning myself off Zonegran. My neurologist gave me a plan to follow and everything. I started on the drug in April 2006 and quickly worked my way up to 200mg/night. In October of 2006, my neurologist upped it to 300mg/night in the hopes of killing off more Migraine attacks.

It is now January 2008 and, after months of going back and forth about the issue, I’ve finally started the process of getting off the meds. This marks the second night in a row I’ll be taking 200 mg/night instead of 300mg.

Here’s the plan.

Up until now: 300mg/night before bed.
Then for two weeks: 200mg/night before bed
For two weeks after that: 100mg/night before bed
And for the two weeks after that?: 100mg every OTHER night before bed

And then I’ll be done. Minor snafu? The doc didn’t call in enough pills to the pharmacy to get me through all the weeks. I’ll run out of pills during the last stage, right when I’ve almost got it beat. We shall deal with that when the time comes–a quick but annoying call to the neurologist’s voicemail will clear that right up.

To complicate and [I sincerely hope!] improve things, I’ve been prescribed a new treatment, if “prescribe” is the accurate word here. My doctor is requesting (nay, ordering!) that I begin taking a new pill every day, but not one I need his signature for. What is this, you ask? Why, it’s a little something called Petadolex. This herbal supplement has virtually no side effects, is relatively inexpensive (especially if you’re starting from scratch sans insurance like me!), and is readily available on this here World Wide Web. There are actually verifiable scientific studies in which results show that Migraine frequency and intensity decreased in people using it daily. And my neurologist, one of the foremost experts in the field, is recommending that I take it.

So why didn’t my doctor tell me about this long ago?

I fear that the answer lies in the well-founded fear that doctors are getting some pretty big payoffs from Big Pharma in exchange for pushing certain drugs to their patients. (I just stumbled across this article that describes how influential drug reps can be! Frightening.) This doesn’t seem entirely true in my case, perhaps, since I was taking the generic form of Zonegran anyway–but I lasted the first four months of my drug therapy without needing one prescription from my local pharmacy. Why? Because my neurologist had tons (TONS!) of free samples to give me. While I was very grateful for this, I also find it off-putting to think of the millions of dollars and labor hours spent in order to get those sample packets into my hand. I fear that the motive isn’t just to make me and others like me well. I think it may have to do with handouts, payouts, and some free vacations and dinners to boot. A friend of mine who’s a pharmacist just went to a talk given by my aforementioned well-known neurologist–a talk about Topamax. “Why would he do such a think in his free time? You know he’s got to be getting paid for it.”

And I’m off on a little bit of a tangent. I’m really hoping that there’s a good reason why I went through four preventative treatments, all of which had adverse side effects, all of which I told the doctor I was hesitant to go on, before he told me about this side-effect-free alternative therapy. I really hope that the reason has nothing to do with his being money-grubbing, ’cause I like him. I do.

Goodnight, and I hope you’re feeling well!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • themigrainegirl
    9 years ago

    Thanks for the comment, anonymous therapist. I'm happy that you (and thousands of other healthcare providers like you) haven't taken money in exchange for promoting certain drugmakers' products! I also like that you approach those luncheons, etc. with a keen and discerning eye. I hope your wife finds something that makes her feel better. Biofeedback works on the brain in ways that are similar to how mindful meditation works (and mindful meditation is MUCH less expensive!). I've found more long-term, prophylactic relief from lifestyle changes than from drugs (though triptans are my lifesavers for acute attacks!).

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Hi migraine girl – I'm a pharmacist and have been for 30 years. My wife is a migrainer. We have tried everything you can think of except biofeedback. Either the therapies don't work or they cause side effects that are worse then problem. The causes and triggers for my wife's migraines appear multifaceted. Simple things like not enough sleep combined with caffeine withdrawal or a change in barometric pressure and not eating and triptan or analgesic over use. Preventing migraines appears to be learning to understand your unique body and listening to it and figuring out what the triggers the migraines. Diaries are helpful but sometimes the cause and the effect are days apart and it is hard to connect the dotes. I guess what I have learned is that like one of your respondents said, it is generally more then one pill or procedure that helps control migraines. Also, I need to say that I have never been paid to attend any seminar or conference. Yes, I have attended dinners sponsored by pharmaceutical companies but I was not paid to attend. I generally attended these presentations to look at what data was available and what issues were coming up about that drug therapy. You always looked at the information as being presented as unbalanced because you know they may not present the total picture unless you ask the correct questions. Well, good luck in your quest.

  • Julianna
    11 years ago

    Hey Migraine Girl,

    I just started Petadolex a week ago. Have you had any problems with your blood? So far I’ve had two bloody noses and coughed up some blood from my throat. I was researching the side-effects when this came up on Google. Has this happened to you? I haven’t taken any blood thinning drugs in six days (not sure if it’s a good thing to mix with Tylnoel or Ibuprofen) so my only supplement in the way of migraine supplement is Petadolex.
    Have any suggestions?
    My email is

    Thank you

  • Anonymous
    11 years ago

    I'm on Topamax, Propanol, & Paxil for Chronic Migraines. My neuro gave me a sample bottle of Petadolex to try. Haven't tried it yet coz I wanted to see how available it was to get when I ran out of the 1st bottle. My local health food store carries it, but it's $50. Can you tell me if you've found a place who has it cheaper than that? Meds are costing me a fortune already. Can you get it by prescription? Feel free to reply to if you want to.

  • ahenry
    11 years ago

    Migraine girl, I’ve used Petadolex off and on, and it does work. Takes a few weeks to get going though. Also had some luck with DepakoteER, 750-1000 mg. Seems no one drug will work for everyone but you will find yours. Good luck. —

  • themigrainegirl
    11 years ago

    How is acupuncture for you? I used to live where you live (according to your blogger profile, at least) and I wish I’d known you then so I could’ve gotten a good recommendation for a neuro!

    From what I read, you’ve got to be pretty vigilant and patient with your Petadolex regimen in order to see those miraculous results others speak of. Hope it works for you!

  • LisaBe
    11 years ago

    i don’t know the answer to your question–i trust my neuro pretty thoroughly. he’s been recommending nonmedicinal therapies since the day i came in to see him for the first time. he’s been recommending this to me for ages, and your post just reminded me that i’d stopped taking it a few months ago (ran out at the same time that i started acupuncture, and the acupuncturist wanted me to try some herbs instead). i just ordered more–thanks for the reminder.

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