By Anna H.
I didn’t see a topic on Butorphanol (used to be brand-named Stadol but now only the generic is available), so I wanted to find out if anyone else has any experience with this as a temporary pain reliever during migraines.
I have about two or three migraines a week, usually annoyingly painful and exhausting rather than severe and debilitating. I was on Topamax but it earned its “dopamax” nickname with me for sure, so I slowly quit it with my Dr’s permission because I missed being sharp at my job. I was taking Imitrex but loathed the tight jaw/tight chest side effect, felt like a panic attack on top of the migraine every time, so my neuro gave me Maxalt just this last time instead (same side effects so I guess me and the triptans are just stuck with each other). As far as painkillers go I usually try not to take much of anything, even Excedrin, in case of MOH, I had problems with my Fioricet causing that before I learned about MOH here and figured out that DUHHH taking it daily at the first sign of any headache big or small probably wasn’t doing me any favors in the long run. Now I mostly have a cup of coffee and sit on my bathroom counter with my hands and feet in a sink of hot water with a bag of peas on the back of my neck, ha.
Enter the Really Big Ones. Usually triggered by weather changes, maybe a couple of times a month, these suckers will wake me up out of a sound sleep with not even the opportunity/warning to take an abortive by time I’m awake and almost screaming with the pain (but of course, I can’t, because every little noise hurts). There is no lying down with these — I pace the hallway because even sitting for more than a minute is too painful. I can’t keep pills down. So last night I ended up with one and finally reached for the Stadol prescribed at my last neuro visit where I broke down in tears because I couldn’t stand the thought of the bright lights of the ER the next time I had such a severe migraine. I begged him for something, ANYTHING to take the edge off the pain and he sent me home with this nasal spray.
I was avoiding trying this because I am wary of opiates. I know I’m not allergic to them, I’ve even had the odd percocet or dilaudid off a friend when I was away from home and had a migraine and just couldn’t deal. But I feel like anything on a Federal schedule has to be approached with extreme caution and Stadol is a Schedule IV, plus I’ve never tried any sort of nasal spray in my life, even for allergies. First off: the taste was ungodly. How that much spray going up your NOSE can end up in the back of your MOUTH is beyond me. After some dry heaving and running for some strong mint gum, I started to not taste it any more, and maybe only five minutes later I already started feeling the relief…in fact I was able to drift off to sleep in less than an hour, and that NEVER happens with these severe migraines. I’m obviously not going to use it except in extreme cases like this, and luckily the neuro gave a very limited supply so I won’t be tempted to use it on low-level days. At the moment though it just feels like a miracle in terms of giving a little relief from pain so awful I seriously start wishing I weren’t alive.
So I’m interested to hear anyone’s experience with this drug: have you used it long term? Have you had any weird side effects? Have you had trouble getting hold of it? Any addiction problems you have personally experienced? Did it not work for you at all? Did you build up a quick tolerance to it?