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Beta blocker losing effectiveness???

Hello all. I’m new here. I have been dealing with migraines for the past 19 years. I was able to deal with them by taking Excedrin Migraine. Back in January-February, I went through a 3 week time period where I had a migraine every day. I decided to follow up with my doctor and see what was going on. She prescribed the beta blocker proponolol. It took a bit of adjusting doses, but once I got to 40mg twice a day my migraines got so much better. Was getting them rarely and they were pretty mild. About a week ago they came back. And early this morning I had a severe one. Has anyone had issues with the beta blockers losing their effectiveness? Can they just stop working like this? I do plan to follow up again with my doctor. Appreciate any input. Thanks!

  1. Hello pmsteepe, welcome to the community! We are glad you found your way here. You have certainly had a lengthy journey with migraine. I hear how frustrating it feels to be having breakthrough migraine symptoms after the beta blocker had been helping to manage symptoms so well. It is not uncommon for members within the community to share various treatments losing their effectiveness over time and needing to try new treatment options. Migraine can be incredibly tricky. I'm glad you are planning to discuss your recent change in symptoms with your doctor. I hope she is able to help modify your treatment so that you achieve better management again. Please keep us posted on how things progress. Wishing you a gentle day. ~Allyson (Migraine.com team)

    1. Hi. I was on Propanolol also. It did help a lot. I also found that it started to not be as effective and my Dr just told me to up the dosage. I didnt want to. I dont have a heart problem. I only took these for temporary relief until i find the cause of these migraines. Unfortunately i had to get off them as they contain lactose, which i am lactose intolerant, and they stuffed up my gut. My gut issues are worse now. I was never told they contained lactose which many beta blockers do. Im struggling now. Migraines are coming back more severe now. Another Dr prescribed Epilim. Im too scared to start it. Im hoping to try CBD, when i can get in to see him. All other Drs just give pills. I want to find a cause so i can treat it effectively. What else have you tried?

      1. @Jobie I'm sorry to hear you are having a hard time getting your migraines under control. Beta-blockers can be effective, but with your lactose intolerance, they are not a good fit for you. I tried CBD for a few weeks but didn't notice any major difference. I did, however, have good results from Emgality. I also am using Nurtec odt for my breakthrough episodes. I would advise you not to get too caught up in trying to find the cause of your migraines as that can be very difficult to achieve. I've been chasing my cause for twenty years with no results. I've not heard of Epilim, but if you try it I hope it provides you with some relief. Keep your doctor in the loop with everything you are trying. I'll keep you in my prayers. Warmly, Cheryl migraine.com team

    2. Hi @Jobie,

      I'm sorry you are having a rough time, you're not alone. Many of us are seeing an uptick in migraine attacks during this very difficult time, myself included. I've been struggling with increased anxiety and that's not fun.

      I did want to mention migraine is a genetic, neurological disease, currently without a cure. We aren't sure exactly the cause of migraine disease, but do know we have overly sensitive brains. Here is a quote from an article one of our contributors, Kerrie Smyres, wrote;
      "Migraine is caused by an inherited neurological disorder that makes the brain to be hyper-reactive to stimuli. (That’s a very brief definition and there’s lots of research into the physiology of migraine still to be done.) This underlying neurological disorder is what causes a person to have migraine attacks. Without it, a person cannot have the episodes of pain, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, etc. that happen during a migraine attack." I know it's a lot, but hope that makes sense. So to this end, migraine can be managed with medications, supplements, devices, complementary therapies and lifestyle modifications.

      It took me a long time (something I still battle with) to accept I have a disease, rather than "just another headache". I do my best to manage it, but some days are easier than others!

      Keeping a detailed migraine diary can be very useful to identify our migraine triggers and/or patterns our attacks may have. If you haven't kept one recently, I would encourage you to try one. To make things even more frustrating, our symptoms, triggers and patterns can change over time - UGG!

      I've given you a lot of information, so I'll stop now. Please reach out with more questions - we're here for you!
      Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

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