Managing Weather-Related Migraine
Last updated: November 2022
Finding ways to manage the triggers, symptoms, and general uneasiness that stems from migraine disease can be challenging. We all have unique ways that our bodies present and perceive these aspects of an attack cycle. Knowing what a potential trigger or symptom is for us is vital in helping us navigate through our attacks. If you are like me, you can meticulously track your experiences only to find a minimal amount of triggers or patterns that feed your migraine. I do know, without a doubt, that weather is one of the main precipitating factors that ramps up my migraine cycles. I can’t change the weather, but I have found a drug that helps ease the effects of weather-related attacks.
What is Diamox?
I live in Florida. It is beautiful here, but the weather can be insane. The summers are brutal for me, though. This is all part of the season: oppressive heat, bright sun, high humidity, almost daily thunderstorms, and tropical storms. I can hide indoors from many of these things. Barometric pressure changes offer me no respite. About four years ago, after talking to a fellow migraine sufferer, she told me about a drug called Diamox (acetazolamide) that her headache specialist prescribed her for weather-related attacks. I did some homework on the drug as I normally do if I suspect I may try it, so here it is in a nutshell. Diamox is an older-generation drug. It came into use in 1952, and it has a wide array of things it is used for, such as glaucoma, altitude sickness, edema, epilepsy, periodic paralysis, normal pressure hydrocephalus, migraine(hemiplegic and weather-related), and IIH(idiopathic intracranial hypertension).
How have I used the drug for migraine?
Armed with this information and a thorough look at the potential side effects of the drug, I discussed trying Diamox with my headache specialist. I am very fortunate to have a doctor who takes the time to listen to me during my visits with her and allows us to partner in my treatment plan. We looked at the potential benefits and side effects of Diamox and decided I would try it and see how it affected my weather-related attacks. I started out with the lowest dose of 125mg and found that it did make a difference in how I experienced a weather-related attack. I continue to take the drug on an as-needed basis. I track barometric pressure variations on an app I’ve used for years to track my migraine attacks called Migraine Buddy.
Has it worked for me?
Overall, adding Diamox to my migraine management arsenal has benefited me. My main side effects have been the potential for dehydration since Diamox acts as a diuretic, frequent urination, and some drowsiness. There are other side effects, but none that I really experience. Having a discussion with my doctor about this medication proved to be beneficial in my case. It makes living in a state full of weather-related triggers a bit easier. It’s not a cure-all for these types of attacks for me, but it does lessen the severity and effects those attacks have on me. This gives me a better quality of life because trying to hide from the weather is just not a viable option! I hope my experience might help someone who suffers from weather-related migraines to have another option to explore in their treatment plan.
Which are you most sensitive to?