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Need suggestions on how to stop & abort my attacks?

The only thing that works to stop a migraine for me is a narcotic medication, which I cannot get in our town. So I am now without any abortives. What would you suggest?

I have used narcotics for many years, as the only thing that has ever worked to stop a migraine. I have tried just about everything, from all the triptans, to ergotamines, all the over the counter things, feverfew, ginger, and several other things. I am always totally honest with my doctor, and he was giving me 30 norco's per month. I told him, that I thought I was possibly over using them, as they only were lasting me about 2 weeks. I should mention that I have a family history of alcoholism, from my mother and a twin brother, so I have that gene in myself. He was of course supportive, and we stopped using narcotic meds for migraines. Which of course, is something that was needed, except now I have nothing to stop them with.

I have tried many things to keep them from starting, and am currently using Aimovig, with limited success. My doctor did prescribe Norco for me a month ago, when I was passing a 6 mm kidney stone. We are just being very cautious, which I think is a good idea, and for that I am grateful. I just suffer from chronic near daily migraines and have a hard time now without an abortive. I guess I am more ranting than asking for help. But I will certainly appreciate any advice that I have not heard before. And good luck to everyone else here, that are in the same boat. I know it is not a place we wish to be in.

  1. This is always a safe place to come and vent out frustration and connect with others who understand, pigen51. Given your family history with addiction, I'm glad you are choosing to be cautious about your narcotic use, but I hear how discouraging it feels to limit something that helps you manage your migraine symptoms. I thought these two articles might be of interest to you, though they may or may not provide you with any new information:
    https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-5-abortive-treatment/
    https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-rescue-treatment/
    Please check back and let us know how you are managing and if you and you doctor are able to find something to help you with your migraine symptoms. Wishing you a gentle day. ~Allyson (Migraine.com team)

    1. Allyson,
      I have tried all of the medications you have described. At various times in the past, I have had some luck with a few of them, fioricet with codeine being the one that seemed to be the most helpful. The triptans have never helped me, in any of the variations or forms. My neurologist just prescribed eletriptan to me, and that again had no effect.
      I have had a gastric bypass, and NSAIDs are not an option for me, as they tear my stomach up. Even toradol given as an injection will cause extreme distress.
      The biggest thing that cause me to be depressed is the fact that I am not as available for my wife as I wish I to be. She faced breast cancer a couple of years ago, and I was able to be there for her, but it took everything within myself on some days to be able to drive her to appointments, or to support her at home when she was feeling sick due to chemo treatments.
      I am on Disability due to the chronic migraines and also a broken back from when I was young, so at least I am physically here, which helps a lot.
      Thanks so much for writing back and taking an interest in my health, and offering suggestions. I am working with a young newer neurologist, who seems to be willing to continue to work with me until he finds something that will reduce the number or pain level of my migraines. So for that I am grateful. Most of the doctors around here had given up, and didn't want to see me, since over the past 40 odd years, I have been to so many of them.

      1. Thank you for sharing. I can understand your frustration. I used narcotics for yeara to treat jpint pain, but chose to stop dueto detrimental side effects of long term use. And I have been in pain every day since.

        As for migraine, I find abortives only work if I use them long before a migraine has become disabiling, but some,migraines strike so fast this is not an option.

        Also, for me sumatriptan has only aborted two migraines for me. It worsened three.

        Each person responds differently.

        My most effective treatment is sleep. To that end I take clonozapam off-label by prescription to facilitate sleep. It also alleviates some other symptoms.

        I also take zofram for extreme nausea and vomiting.

        I have shortened/lessened some,migraines with magnesium (product name Calm), Black Cherry Juice or Coconut water. Magnesium and Cherry Juice help with migraine accompany by bowel distress. They trigger bowel release which for me is followed by a reduction in head pain. Coconut Water helps with migraines caused by low salt or dehydration as the potassium is the theraputic element.

        I have been treated in the emergency department 4 times for migraine. I refused narcotics each time. I was given tramadol, benadryl and phenegrin or zofran each time. Also, twice and iv drip as I was dehydrated from vomiting. Still with these treatments it took an average of four hours to feel well enough to leave the hospital. The migraines were never "broke" just beaten down enough that I could go home and sleep.

        I have tried gabapentin, nuerotin and topamax as preventatives to no avail.

        I also have tried otc nsaids, .ausea meds, and migraine remedies to no avail.

        I am sorry to offer only tips, as I also fail to "break" migraines. But I hope you find something helpful.

        I wish you the best in finding a successful treatment.

        1. My grandmother would use blackberry cordial for bowel trouble. She had migraines also, although she would call them sick headaches, and go and lay down with a cold cloth over her eyes, in a darkened room until she felt better. Until I got older, I never put 2 and 2 together that she had migraines.
          I understand just how hard it can be to break a migraine, when it is going full bore. And especially when you are limited as to what drugs you are able to use to try and stop it. Triptans don't work for me, I can no longer take NSAIDS due to a gastric by pass, they give me a lot of stomach trouble, even a shot of toradol will mess my stomach.
          Our emergency rooms are even getting touchy about using narcotics for actual pain presenting that they know is real. I went in a month or so ago, with kidney stones. They took a cat scan, and a urine sample, told me I had no kidney stones that showed on the cat scan and then offered me a shot of toradol. I told them I was allergic to toradol, and could not take it. The nurse was incredulous that I refused to take it. But I know just how much it messes my stomach up for 3-4 days after. So I went home with a shot of benedryl and a shot of a steroid. I called my family doctor the next day, and he called me in a pain killer. We have an agreement, since he knows I have a background of possible abuse of narcotics. I told him that, and we both agree that only when absolutely necessary will we use them.
          That weekend I passed a 6 mm kidney stone, which is about a quarter of an inch across. It is the biggest that you can pass on your own. I saw my urologist in a week, and they told me that the cat scan in the Emergency room showed kidney stones of 4 mm on each side. And yet, the doctor told me that there were no stones at all, and did not treat me for them. All because of the fear of the DEA and prescribing of narcotics.
          Here in my small city, a nurse practitioner is in the process of losing her license for precribing too many opioids. They won't tell the prescribers how many is too many, or give them guidelines that are exact to follow, they just watch everyone, and come in and take down the one who is on the high end, no matter how many that they are prescribing. She used to be one of the hired help at one of the medicenters. I saw her several times, back when they used to give morphine and zofran for migraines there. Last time I went there, it was all new people, and they said that they would give me what they always did, but that the hospital took their narcotics away, and all they had was toradol. I know that this is a hard place to be, and I know I am not the only one who is in this spot. I used to go to another medicenter, but they closed that one a couple years ago. It seemed that the doctor there was using the drugs on himself as much as on his patients. Sadly, there were at least 10 migraine patients besides myself, who were regulars there, and we could come in, and be fast tracked to a room, and get our normal meds, and sit for 15 minutes to be certain of no reaction, and then get released to be driven home. It is probably for the best that they closed that place up, for the doctors sake. He lost his license, but not his life, which can happen if you get hooked badly. Thanks for your concern, and best wishes for you and your struggle as well

      2. Have you tried any of the electronic devices? Cefaly etc? How about Botox?

        I'm sorry, it sounds like you've been through the mill.

        Perhaps also the non-prescription preventative options? High dose vitamin B2, magnesium etc? I'm using all of these in conjunction with topiramate while I wait for botox.

        1. Gosh, lots of things going on there! It does sound as though musculoskeletal issues could well be huge contributory factors along with everything else.

          Do you get any relief from massage, physiotherapy or osteopathy? If medication is failing you, which it clearly has, maybe alternatives like that could help?

          I use my Cefaly to help with the pain of a migraine, and often use it for a couple of hours straight. I also use massage of the back, neck and shoulders to great effect. I have a small massage device which helps, as I can't afford a proper massage very often. Floating in water is also great for me - especially a cool swimming pool as my bath is small. Cool water is preferable to warm for me, but everyone is different.

          None of these are as effective as triptans (when those work! ), but they do still help enormously.

        2. Tea-leaf,
          I have not tried massage. I have gone through physical therapy, a couple of times, but have not had much success. What does help is to stand under a hot shower with the water hitting my head. While under the shower, the heat of the shower overwhelms the pain sensors and I don't feel the migraine or the nausea. But of course, I can't spend hours under the shower.
          I find with a bad migraine, I end up pacing in circles. Always counter clockwise, and always trying to hit the same places with my steps. I think it is similar to people with OCD, who wash their hands over and over, which they have found creates more serotonin levels in the brain. I am guessing that it has something to do with that, for me. I can pace in a circle for an hour.

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