caret icon Back to all discussions

On the different medications for my migraine

First was put on propranolol, worked at decreasing my migraines for awhile, then they increased again. Then put in amitriptyline, came thing, helped for awhile then migraines got worse. Then put on gabapentin, that didn't take so anything for my headaches but it does help me sleep. So I'm wondering if I need to be in all these medications if they ended up not working very well. Doctor says yeah but I hate being in all these medications.

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I understand how frustrating it is to live with migraine disease and needing to take medications every day - it's exhausting.
    The thing is it's important to get the right treatment as soon as possible and here's why - episodic migraine (14 or fewer migraine/headache days a month) can transform into chronic migraine (15 or more migraine/headache days a month) fairly quickly, without proper treatment and no one wants to be chronic! This means if we have four or more severe attack a month we need to discuss migraine prevention with the doctor.
    Propranolol and amitriptyline are typically first line treatments for migraine prevention. Please don't lose hope there are over 100 medications, supplements, devices, complementary therapies and lifestyle modifications that can be used to manage migraine disease and most of us are on a combination of these, I sure am. And we may not have to be on medications for our entire life. Here's a starting point -
    One of the more frustrating things about migraine management is it can take a while to find the right combination of medications, supplements, devices, complementary therapies and lifestyle modifications before we see a reduction in attack frequency and severity - hang in there.
    I also wanted to mention it's important to have a doctor who is well versed in migraine and headache disease here's why - general neurologists may be fine doctors but have a hard time being experts in one area because they treat many conditions such as stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and more. A true migraine/headache disease doctor treats migraine and headache all day, every day and have additional certification in headache medicine not all general neurologists have. Here is more information on how these doctors are different and how to find one;

    I'll stop now so I don't overwhelm you. I'm sending you pain free wishes and please let me know what you think, Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Team

    1. Thank you for your response. I guess for now I'll stay on all these medications, maybe each one is doing something. Just seems like my migraines sooner or later get used to the drugs and come back full force

      1. Both Nancy and Rebecca have already given you some great information. I just want to echo how understandable it is that you feel frustrated with your medication. I use to take multiple medications for migraine, and remember how burdensome it could feel at times. Sending lots of hope and good vibes your way, and thank you for sharing your experience. I have no doubt there are many people in the community who feel similar to you. - Cody (Team Member)

    2. - It's completely understandable to feel concerned or frustrated about being on multiple medications, especially if they are not providing the desired level of relief. It's essential to keep your healthcare specialist in the loop. And, having a conversation with them is vital. Being proactive about your health is an excellent way to go about keeping your health manageable. And, asking if you need all these meds that have (in your mind) minimal effects is a great way to stay on top of these migraines, especially if the meds have stopped working over time.

      Discussing the effectiveness, side effects, and overall impact of the medications you are currently taking is an important conversation to have with your doctor. They may consider adjusting dosages, exploring alternative medications, or reassessing the overall treatment plan. Asking questions and proposing a change in treatment is being proactive.

      Additionally, lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, and other non-pharmacological approaches may also be discussed as part of a comprehensive migraine management plan.

      Remember that your well-being is the priority, and finding the right balance in your treatment plan is a collaborative effort between you and your healthcare professional. Hope this is helpful. Thoughtfully, Rebecca (community moderator)

      1. Do they start primarily in the back of the head? I went through all the medications, and nothing worked and side effects a nightmare, turns out I had cerviogenic migraines. I now get facet joint injections. It took 10 + years to get the diagnosis, and a pinched nerve to get the shots approved. Please do a migraine journal and note what happened while on the medications, and please look at the side effects of the drugs they give you and write them down too. Also along this journey I found out I cannot take supplements and vitamins they would actually double the amount of migraines.

        1. I'm sorry to hear that it took so long to get a proper diagnosis and approval of medications. It can be a long and frustrating journey when it comes to managing migraine.

          You make a great point about doing a migraine journal. Many people in our community have had a lot of success with them, so thanks for that reminder.

          In fact, here's an article that talks a bit about journals and I also wrote an article with some journal prompts.

          Thanks for the note about supplements too. It's true, for some people they can bring tremendous relief, and for others it can be the opposite. When it comes to managing migraine, it's so individualized.

          Thanks again for sharing your story and for raising these important points.
          Alene, moderator

      Please read our rules before posting.