When It's Time To Consider A Medication Change
Last updated: July 2022
When does it click for you that you need an immediate change? Whether it's an adjustment in a current medication or even starting from scratch with a whole new medication to consider trying.
With the number of preventive and acute migraine medications, it's best to always consult with your doctor as a team. We often say no two migraines will always present the same; the same may be consistent with symptoms and severity. As I mention in my article about documenting your symptoms, this can be due to many things. These may include hormones, medication efficacy, and changes in symptoms or severity of symptoms.
Overall symptoms increasing
If you struggle with migraine activity regularly and know when they may come, you may want to consider getting checked out by your headache specialist or neurologist when you notice your symptoms increasing. It may mean that you need a new course of treatment, preventive and/or acute. It may mean that your disease activity is changing patterns and in which ways some may be presenting. Hopefully, with a check-in with your provider, it may be a simple alteration of medication dosage or a change altogether.
New mood symptoms
I have noticed that as my migraine activity has increased acutely, the shorter my patience is with people, and the physical pain worsens. Other things I felt relevant may be a factor in why I had gotten moodier and had a short fuse with people in my immediate circle emotionally. Concussions had been taking their toll on me and how it was impacting my sleep. The smallest part of my day turned out to be the biggest help in identifying how to better acutely treat my increasing migraines and the lasting impact that a series of concussions were changing in every aspect of my day.
Symptoms affect work and ability to focus
Sometimes, we are trained to ignore it as long as possible to avoid acknowledging how severe symptoms can affect us from day to day. When I have recently been at my worst, I have had out-of-body experiences and been unable to complete computer work, which is much of my 3rd shift abilities. When my work began to suffer, and I could no longer complete tasks I would normally never have a problem completing or even focusing on, I knew something had to change fast.
Social life is affected
If you realize your migraine pain and fatigue are impacting your desire to see friends and socialize and be among others - even to try and get your mind off of the pain - it might be time to talk about adjustments in medications and patterns you've noticed. If you love doing something you look forward to and suddenly realize your social life is impacted, it can be one of the most obvious changes. A sudden change of losing interest due to side effects or symptoms of your migraines should motivate you to make an appointment with your provider fast.
How much or how little I sleep is something I self-check to determine if I need to be seen. Sleeping too little, the inability to fall asleep, trouble staying asleep, or sleeping too much can be a huge indication that you need an adjustment of sorts. Changes in sleep patterns can often be associated with depression, which can coexist with migraine. Your overall sleep hygiene can be affected in the simplest ways, but if you notice that you start to skip or even avoid certain activities to have the ability to go through a normal workday without feeling stressed or more fatigued than usual, it can be a very helpful indicator.
Changes in health status
I think many of us notice, especially if we struggle with disease and comorbidities, how quickly a change in health status can affect migraines, or even in just the ways they present. It may not always be that obvious, though. Monitoring small or significant changes through journaling or documenting habits, or even going through your health portals and looking at how frequently you're seeing other specialists, may impact how you deal with the symptoms and the pain.
Do any of these things indicate that it's time to see the doctor for their input and opinion? How do YOU know when it's time to be seen?
Which are you most sensitive to?