caret icon Back to all discussions

How to get migraine medication and how to know when to take it

I’ve been getting migraines my whole life and I’ve kind of known they were migraines my whole life (not sure how). When I was a kid, I’d take an acetaminophen (like Tylenol) and my migraine would go away. They were very infrequent. As I got older, acetaminophen stopped working and I switched to Ibuprofen (like Advil). Ibuprofen has worked for me pretty consistently up until a few months ago. My symptoms have been getting worse and new ones have been coming up. My sister also gets migraines, but she has prescriptions for zolmitriptan and Cambia. She has given me a few of each of those from her stash for me to try out. Zolmitriptan is like a magic migraine pill for me… seems to make the migraine completely go away within an hour without the migraine hangover. Unfortunately, I only have 2 pills left and it is nearly impossible to get an appointment with my doctor to get a prescription for myself. Other than a confirmation from my doctor a couple months ago that a recent MRI for something unrelated showed I have the brain of a person with migraines (which is pretty cool), I have never gotten nor asked for any support from a doctor for migraines. So, I don’t know how to talk to my doctor about it. Should I ask to see a neurologist too? In the meantime, how do I decide when to try ibuprofen vs take one of the few zolmitriptan I have left? I’m worried if I start consistently taking zolmitriptan, my body will get used to that too and I’ll need to take even more intense medication. I’d appreciate any advice!

  1. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your concerns with us. I know how frustrating it is when our pain changes. The first thing that comes to mind is getting an accurate diagnosis. Have you had an opportunity to mention this to your primary care doctor? That may be the best place to start. Let me share information on how to talk to your doctor about migraine;

    I'm not sure what area of the country you are in, but it may be worthwhile to start out seeing a true expert who treats 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;

    It's important to get the right diagnosis as 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! I hope this all makes sense!
    Will you let me know what you think? I'm sending you pain free wishes, Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Team

    Please read our rules before posting.