A winning formula

I contracted encephalitis February 2014 that triggered a status migranosus lasting 6 months. Apparently my genetic predisposition combined with the 500 hours I worked in the preceding 2 months and the high stress I was under with my daughter who is autistic was the setup for the perfect storm.

In hospital they gave me enough cortisone to treat a small army, which had me so wired I did't sleep for about 2 weeks. After that I was taking co-enzyme q10, vit B2, Magnesium and amitriptyline. Then started yoga and massages weekly in April. The amitriptyline (it made me even slower) was changed to Topiramate and gradually increased up to 75mg twice daily. That got me better so I could go back to work by June, but I was still having constant visual disturbances and I was dumb as a brick with the attention span of a goldfish - not cool considering that I'm a medical doctor. I started with Botox injections which also gave some additional relief, but didn't take the problem away completely.

I figured out that escitalopram (Lexamil) additionally could help to stop the migranous process sufficiently but with nasty side-effects. So when the migraine became unbearable I would take escitalopram for 2-3 weeks up until the side-effects became unbearable. And so continue cycling between taking it and not having migraine but feeling terrible, and not taking and having migraine and feeling terrible.

Then I heard about Vortioxetine (Brintelix) a reasonably new antidepressant with excellent tollerability and great efficacy and working on a comparable mechanism to venlafaxine, escitalopram and amitriptyline which are all proven to work as migraine prophylaxis (prevention). I obviously knew it had not been investigated for use in migraine, but I was DESPERATE and in theory definitely worth a shot. Oh yes and my neurologist was unavailable for a couple of weeks when I got the great brainwave idea... and then I got another KILLER migraine and just thought 'what the heck, just do it!' I want to just remind you again that I am a doctor and most migraine sufferers would not have access to this kind to treatment without a prescription, I am mentioning it on this site because of how well it worked for me and in the hope of reaching more people than just my own patients here in South Africa.

So here I am 2 months later and I have had only 2 migraines since then. One 10 days after my mom passed away and the other the morning after I slept 2 hours (it lasted 3 days). I am so excited about this combo that I want everyone with chronic migraine to at least know about how it has changed my life. I can watch TV with my family again - not the action movies with constant explosions, but at least a comedy movie most of the time. Before I could not watch TV or spend more than 10 minutes in front of a computer screen. We just had a road trip and no migraine there (instead of towel over the head half the time). I can now often be in a room with blinds or geometric pattern wallpaper without wanting to throw up within 2 minutes. I can exercise. I can have sex and enjoy it fully without having to hold back!!!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.