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Breaking the Triptan Cycle?

Hi all, I’ve had migraines for 20 years (since I was 12) and they have gotten more frequent and intense over the years. I started using Triptans in 2015 and they are the only thing that’s ever helped, but since last November I’ve started needed them every day (40mg eletriptan). Id like to break the cycle but I don't have time to be sick for days or weeks. I get mixed messages from doctors and pharmacists about whether its ok or not to take this much, but I don't want to risk it and I’m also trying to get pregnant and there don’t seem to be studies on birth impacts of people taking as much as I do. I’ve been trying to ween myself off by pushing time between pills as much as I can, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I’m wondering, knowing triptans work for me, if there is a natural way to achieve a similar result with whatever these drugs do to my serotonin receptors. I've tried beta-blockers, magnesium, ergotamine, acupuncture, exercise, exclusion diets (with no results) and now I work from home to avoid bad lights, noise, etc. Not sure what else I can reasonably do, but I’m feeling like an addict and Im worried about my long term health on these drugs. Thanks for any tips.

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  1. Hi mad252,

    Thank you for reaching out to us. You're not alone in feeling this way. It can be a difficult catch 22 - we want the pain to stop, and not depend on daily triptans or feel like we've become "addicted."

    Good for you for trying acupuncture and exercise. Lifestyle changes/choices are important in a migraine management program, as well as trigger identification. Have you been able to identify any migraine attack triggers? If not, I would encourage you to keep a detailed migraine diary for a few months to see what patterns and triggers stick out. Here is information on this;
    https://migraine.com/blog/keeping-migraine-diary-basics/.

    Here's the thing - when we have three or more severe migraine attacks a month, it's time to discuss migraine prevention with the doctor. This is in addition to medication used to stop the migraine process. One helps prevent migraine attacks, the other (triptans) stop the migraine process. I see you've mentioned you've tried a few things to help prevent migraine attacks without any luck. Don't be discouraged - there are over 100 medications, supplements and devices that can be used to treat migraine disease.

    If you haven't seen a true migraine/headache disease expert, I would encourage you to. These doctors have extra certification in headache medicine, whereas general neurologists may not. Let me share this information with you on how to find one;
    https://migraine.com/blog/really-find-headache-specialist/.

    I understand your concerns about pregnancy, that's a tough one and very personal choice. See what an expert says!

    Let me know if you have questions,
    Nancy

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