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Will Migraine Treatments Be Impacted By The Meningitis Outbreak?

The short answer to this question is… maybe. But it’s more complicated than that:

Methylprednisolone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine — a steroid. It is sometimes used as component of Migraine treatments such as nerve blocks. This may lead some patients to worry about their treatments. But more than that, there is worry that this recall and the disastrous outbreak of meningitis may lead to problems for compounding pharmacies to which many Migraineurs depend for the medicine that gets them through the day.

Do you wonder if your medicine contained contaminated methylprednisolone from the recalled batches? Contact your physician who will have retained the information on exactly which batch of medicine you received. If you don’t trust that your doctor has properly checked to be sure you are in the clear, ask for a copy of the medicine label information and check it yourself to the FDA recall list. Batches that have been recalled are listed on the FDA’s website here. When in doubt, seek a second opinion and the help of another different qualified physician.

Important Note: Thus far, reported cases of meningitis appear to be associated with spinal epidural injection. However, if you received injections containing methylprednisolone it is safest to contact your doctor’s office.

Equally important, and affecting a larger populous is the potential threat to compounding pharmacies throughout the United States as a result of association. There has been past pressure to outlaw the practice of compounding, and in comparison to the lobby that supports those limitations, there are precious few of these pharmacies around to convince the public that what they do is integral for many patients.

I have written about compounding pharmacies and their importance to Migraineurs here. If you suffer from nausea and vomiting with your Migraine attacks, you may someday utilize the vital services of a compounding pharmacy. If you use the old drug Midrin and want to continue using that medicine combination indefinitely then you will likely eventually use a compounding pharmacy. The list goes on and on. Many, many people have used compounding pharmacies and never even realized it.

I am a patient that depends on compounded medicines. Without them, the severity of my attacks is devastating and uncontrolled. It’s true that only a small percentage of Migraineurs have the barriers to their treatment that I do, but compounding pharmacies do not just help Migraineurs. They are vital for cancer patients and patients with other severe and chronic illnesses.

It is my sincere hope that this horrible circumstance won’t taint all pharmacies that perform this vital service to their patients. It is my prayer that those in governmental power don’t find this a reason to once again (thinking incandescent light bulbs) try to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s instead encourage those in control to not consider all the apples in the barrel ruined because one was a problem.

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

US Food and Drug Administration. List of Recalled Products Related to Fungal Meningitis Outbreak. US Dept of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm322752.htm. Updated October 5, 2012

Comments

  • cathyfrost
    7 years ago

    This is an interesting topic. Living (now) in Alaska, apparently, there is not a concern – or at least there has not been an outbreak here yet. What I found interesting, is I heard, on the radio, the list of symptoms – they essentially were very similar to those of a migraine. I thought that was a little scary.
    Now, on to Midrin – I used to take it as it worked for my dad and it seemed to work well for me too. It knocked me out – it was like once I had to take midrin, night night. I thought the FDA took it off the market (for a reason I could not get answered). So, Relpax was the latest and greatest and I tried that. It works 50% of the time. At least I can take it and somewhat function at work. However, it is one of those drugs that if you do not take it in time, it will not do a thing. So, a doctor mentioned to me recently that I “could get” midrin – I asked if it was legal? He kind of evaded that answer. So, is midrin back? If it is, did the formulation change? I guess I could google it, but thought this was an interesting topic 🙂

  • Ellen Schnakenberg author
    7 years ago

    The name brand produce Midrin is no longer being made. However there is another product that is still on the market… for now. It can be hard to get. Having the meds compounded is legal, just a bit more expensive. Any doctor can write a prescription for the combination to be compounded together, but you have to take it to a compounding pharmacy to be put together. That is their job 🙂 Might read this forum discussion on Midrin https://migraine.com/groups/users/forum/topic/midrin/ as well as this post on compounding pharmacies: https://migraine.com/blog/what-is-a-compounding-pharmacy/

  • Ellen Schnakenberg author
    7 years ago

    Last night I caught a bit of a report on compounding pharmacies. There are those that are very upset that compounding is allowed to continue. I admit that I do fear that eventually we will lose access to compounding as we have known it in the past.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    7 years ago

    Me too Jay!

  • jay
    7 years ago

    Oh… I’d be lost w/o my compounding pharm. EEEEkers,

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