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Medications & Prescription Treatment

Migraine Medication Relief

  • By deborah

    Hi. I’m a 44 year old woman who has suffered with migraines since about age 5. For years they were terrible. I missed so much work and school. I would have to take shots of Demerol/Nubain/and Phenergan together and be knocked out for a couple of days. When the new migraine drugs came out (Imitrex, etc) they tried me on them. However, due to having Mitral Valve Prolapse they discovered after nearly killing me in the ER with Imitrex that I should not take it. So, I suffer…….constantly. They have started getting bad again the last couple of years. I now live north of ATL, GA and these drs here (family dr nor Neurologist) will give me shots. All they will give me his Hydrocodone pills and Phenergan pills. Well, when I’m so sick from one, I can’t keep them down. There are times when I beg my husband to drive me to my hometown in AL so that I can see my old dr. Any ideas on any meds that I could take? I’m desperate…….but so tired of the drs here not understanding and thinking just because I ask for a shot that I’m a druggie. I’ve never touched a drug before w/o it being prescribed. My mother and grandmother had them (as well as members of my dad’s family) and sadly I have passed them down to my oldest son and my youngest daughter. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Deborah, first I’d like to point you in the direction of a blog post I wrote a while back that discussed what some of your options might be when you can’t keep your medications down due to vomiting or they won’t work due to stasis. http://bit.ly/eZI8sq You have options!

    As to your question of what meds you can take, my first question to you would be – has anyone ever offered you a preventive? That would be a good place to start. Of course you need more than that because even a great preventative takes weeks or months to take effect.

    You say you tried Imitrex. I have MVP as well, and Imitrex was very bad for me as well. Not all triptans are created equally however. If it weren’t for Raynaud’s and my autoimmunity I would be taking triptans now. I tried others and they didn’t have nearly the same effect as the sumatriptan. Of course, that’s a decision only you and your doctor can make.

    There is also DHE which works very well. Magnesium IV, steroids, Depakane IV all can be given. Here the standard Migraine ER treatment is magnesium and toradol, sometimes with a chaser of steroids. Things work better in combination sometimes too.

    The point is, there are many different things you can try. Do you have a written list of the things you have already tried so you can give that to your doctor before your next attack hits? Having a plan before an attack is very helpful, both to you and to your doctor and the ER staff if you end up there.

    Don’t forget to try to figure out your triggers and eliminate as many as possible. This will hopefully help you too.

    This is a good place to begin anyway…

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  • By Anonymous

    Hi,

    I’m 29 years old and have been suffering from migraines for close to 20 years. My doctors have tried various treatments over the years and after many failed attempts with prescription and OTC therapies, in recent years I found that my best relief was by full rest and/or an NSAID, preferably Excedrin Migraine or Ibuprofen (if rest was not an option). However, very recently I was diagnosed with peptic ulcers and my doctor has cautioned me against using NSAIDs going forward.

    Now, my question is what are some other OTC options (not NSAIDs) that will help treat my migraines when they occur (about three times per month) and NOT irritate my peptic ulcers?

    Thank you for “listening.”

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    NISHAKSQUARED, There is no one answer to give you, as each of us responds to different treatments differently. Sometimes not at all. Here are a couple links that might be helpful to you though: Natural remedies http://bit.ly/pZLZi3 OTC meds http://bit.ly/nJL8MH Please remember, that just because something is over the counter or considered a ‘natural’ remedy doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you. All of these should be treated as the powerful drugs that they are. Be sure and check with your doctor and/or pharmacist before trying anything new, okay?

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  • By taralane

    I have had migraines for 43 years and they are completely intractable. I am adding to the trigger list on a daily basis – yogurt, on of my favorites, went on the list last week. That was really hard. I have taken every drug out there ( almost) to try both prophylactically, for management and for acute treatment and none seem to work for very long. Some will work once and never again, some for several times and then stop, and others I have a longer run. I don’t drink, smoke, have caffeine, chocolate, nightshade vegetables, aged cheeses, pickles, olives or most of the other things that we are warned about. I lead a dull life, and still am getting somewhere between 3-5 migraines a week. I have very little social life, and a lot of people I used to have as friends, are gone by the wayside, much too involved with their own lives to be bothered by mine. I don’t blame them. I am sick of my life too, but am trying to see the good in what I am learning about myself and others, and be compassionate for myself and others, and just keep trying to find a way out of the hole I am in. My pain doc and I are going to give the Botox another try, and so far, Zomig is working for the acute headaches, which are coming more often now that the rainy season has hit CA and the storms off the Pacific drop the barometric pressure very quickly give any migraineur a quick migraine that will last 2-3 days.

    Never heard of Baclofen, but will mention it to my doc next time I talk to her. I’m trying to find out some info on the generic topirimate vs the brand Topomax because I have heard the brand is much better despite the cost. Anyone know about this?

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  • By jbgdad

    On the topic of treatments, I have had a hard time taking oral meds bc of intense naseau. I read something about a potential skin patch technology that would deliver medication transdermally. Its is from a company called Nupathe. Does anyone know if it is available? That sounds like a great option for me bc the meds would take effect without ever entering my GI system that gets VERY sensitive during episodes.
    Any information would be great. Thanks!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    JBGDAD – Yes, I do know about Nupathe and the transdermal patch they are working on! I am so excited about it. However, the patch system itself is totally new technology (it’s definitely not like your grandpa’s heart patch) and the FDA has delayed approval of it – at least for a little while longer. I’ve talked with NuPathe personally about their patch and am very excited about it, but as of yet, we will have to wait a bit longer…

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  • By jbgdad

    Ellen, thank you kindly for the response – I am new to the website but it is extremely helpful, its really great.
    Thanks for your thoughts on the patch product. In the meantime, I was able to find some clinical data on the patch system (they call it Zelrix) and I was very impressed with the data (although I am not a doctor). I was concerned that the patch would cause a lot of problems for patients skin but actually the safety data showed very low incidence…and lets face it, a skin itch is no big deal relative to the he## migraines put me thru! I will eagerly await FDA approval of the product and ask my doctor about it.

    Thanks again!

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  • By Shelley

    I am also new to this site and have had migraines now for about 15 years. I am 49 and they are getting worse as I get older. My doctor tells me they usually get better after menapause. I too would be very interested also to know if anyone else feels there is a difference between the Generic topirimate and the brand Topamax. my insurance Rx company will only fill RX’s with generic if they are available. I have found since I am now using the Topirimate my migraines are much worse and more frequent, 4-5 times weekly. It doesn’t seem to work as well. I have since stopped taking the topirimate because it doesn’t work. Not sure what to try next. My doctor has suggested just treating the headaches when i get them with Maxalt or Treximet and pain meds. Don’t really want to go that route, any suggestions?

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  • By marlenerossman

    Has anyone had any success with Migranal in the inhaled form? My doctor, Susan Hutchinson (who is a great migraine doc in So. Cal) has given me a sample. I have not yet tried it.

    Please share your thoughts on Migranal nasal spray.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Shelley – Aborting the Migraine process as soon as you can is vital treatment and good management practices for the majority of patients. Usually a Triptan like Maxalt or Treximet will do the trick and additional pain medications aren’t needed. What other pain meds is your doctor asking you to take?

    Is this doctor a headache specialist? I ask because of the medication suggestion coupled with the statement that usually Migraines go away with menopause, which simply is not always the case. There are many things that come into play in Migraine Disease, and getting educated here is a great start for you so you can ask your doctor questions and get good conversations going regarding your Migraine management.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    marlenerossman – Dr Hutchinson is one of the doctors here at Migraine.com! It’s great to “meet” one of her patients. You are a lucky girl 🙂

    Since nobody seems to have answered your query here, you might consider posting the question in the Migranal forum http://bit.ly/HifDcU and see if that yields better results. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried it so can’t comment to help you.

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  • By Cindi

    Hello all, I, too, have had chronic migraines since childhood and am now 52. I’ve been down the same road as many of you, most recently have worn out Topomax. My doc, a neurologist that specializes in migraines, is giving me nerve block shots every other month. That does help with the actual pain in my head, but does not aleviate the other symptoms that the Topomax once held off. I’ve read about Baclofen here and will do some research and talk to my doctor, as increasing the Topomax makes me speak (or not) like an idiot (in my opinion) and I teach as part of my living, so that is just not an option to me anymore. Besides, I think my body is tired of it now anyway. Time for a change.

    Someone asked about Cambia earlier and I have tried it but the only abortive that seems to work for me is Relpax. I wish I could get whatever they give in the IV at the ER, because that always worked wonders!

    Ellen and Teri, thanks for all you do!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    cindimoyer – it might be worth your time to go to the ER and ask for your records there so you know what they gave you in your infusions. Sometimes these drugs can be taken at home, OR sometimes you can get home therapy… depending of course on what your therapy actually was. Think about it, then talk to your doctor if this is something you think you might want to pursue.

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  • By brittnyshearin

    Hi, my name is Brittny I have recently been suffering from migraines that lasts for weeks. I cannot seem to get any medication to last more than a few hours, I am on fioricet and triximet. I have been to the ER, sent home with more fioricet and no support. My husband is not as understanding and is getting frustrated with my symptoms. I can no longer drive myself anywhere or do my homework in a timely manner. I need advice, I have been to two doctors now and soon will be seeing a neurologist. If anyone has advice please please help me I am desperate!

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  • By Teri Robert

    Brittney,

    How many days a week are you taking the Treximet and Fioricet? If you’re taking one or both of them more than two or three days a week, there’s a good chance that they’re actually making matters worse by causing what’s called medication overuse headache. Unfortunately, many doctors either don’t know about this or don’t think to tell us about it. You can find more information on it at https://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/. Keep in mind that Fioricet canNOT stop a Migraine. All it can do is mask the pain for a few hours.

    When are you seeing the neurologist? Hopefully, he or she will know more about Migraine than the doctors you’ve seen so far. I suggest you take your husband to your appointment with you so he can learn about Migraines. Does he realize that Migraine is a disease? In the meantime, here’s something for him to read – https://migraine.com/blog/10-things-i-want-to-share-about-migraines/.

    I hope this helps!
    Teri

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  • By debbieschankula

    Hi all, I’m new here. I’ve been having migraines for 8 years since my youngest was born. They are much worse no as I’m in my early 40s. They are hormonal and food doesn’t seem to be a trigger although barometric pressure and heat can be. I was on relpax but that started causing uncomfortable side effects. Now I take amerge which is much slower to act but does take care of the pain often for 2 days. I also take many supplements. I am now contemplating going back on the bc pill Ortho 777 to reduce my hormonal migraines to 4x a year, or the preventative procardia or the bc Nuva Ring which my dr has heard many migraineurs have had success with. I have recently started having trouble with anxiety and wonder if any other migraineurs have this problem too.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    DEBBIE SCHANKULA – I have seen all these method discussed before. Unfortunately we never seem to know if a patient is going to have a positive or negative result from any particular treatment… or a neutral one. We are all so very different. Anxiety can certainly be an issue as well. Are you addressing this in any way yet?

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  • By Annie5Star

    Hi there,
    I’m 35 and I’ve suffered with migraines for 23 years. They’ve been progressive getting worse since my two children were born, several years ago. I’ve always had hormonal migraines, but now weather/pressure changes really affect me, as well as everything from sleep changes, food additives, alcohol, etc. I’ve been seeking treatment from a Neurologist and trying to figure out preventative medication(s) that will work for me. So far, I’m not having much luck. I’ve tried several anti-depressants, even Botox injections (which worked for a few years – but then stopped). I’m currently on Topamax 100 mg/day and Sibelium (10 mg/day) but I’m completely lethargic and I feel like I’m a zombie. I’ve still had 13 migraine episodes since I’ve started this round of new meds just over a month ago. I’m beyond frustrated … wondering if anyone has had any luck with any other medications? I’m at the end of my rope here … Some of these meds have such crazy side-effects. I’ve been off work for several months due to the chronic migraines, then trying to deal with side effects and wonky mood swings, etc. on top of everything else. I’m so frustrated! 🙁

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    annie5star – It’s hard to answer that question since we don’t know what you’ve tried, but if you’re chronic (15 or more days per week) have you tried botox? Topiramate? Petasites? The unfortunate fact of Migraine is that what is helpful to one patient will epic fail on another. There just is no one thing that is helpful to everyone. Dealing with Migraine takes a LOT of patience. There are so many treatment possibilities, and trying them all takes about 3-6 months each, so it is very time consuming and it’s so easy to lose patience and give up. Because Migraine can be a progressive disease, it’s really important that we hang in there and keep working on things. Our bodies and our Migraines change throughout time and that makes it even more tricky, but it can be done. Hang in there, okay?

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  • By Bobbilynn

    I’ve been to multiple doctors, pain clinics, nueros trying to find what fits for me. I have not yet found a preventative that works. Topomax was a nightmare, other triptans don’t work. The list is long.

    As I get older, the pain is more often–and almost always with hormornal changes, weather changes, and heat. I can count on it. Makes summertime very difficult.

    I’m wondering if anyone has tried a natural rememdy I came across called MediMigraine? It’s supposed to be a form of feverfew that has had clinical trials with positive results. Anyone know more about this stuff? Need to check with my doctor if she has heard of it, but wondering if there are any good results out here from “those who know” 🙂 I’m tired of just using pain meds once I get the migraines and they don’t last long. Verapamil has been some help too.

    Thanks for any help. ~Robyn

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Bobbilynn – I haven’t tried MediMigraine myself, however Feverfew has a track record that is somewhat variable. For some it works wonderfully, others get no results from it at all. Please understand that Feverfew can be dangerous if not taken properly, and it is really super important that you talk to your doctor about taking it before trying it.

    We do have a brand new Feverfew forum if you’d like to get into a discussion about this particular ingredient. You can find it here: https://migraine.com/groups/users/forum/topic/feverfew/

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  • By prettygirl26

    Hello all I’m a 27 yr old female from cedar rapids,ia I have been suffering from migraine since 2005 but worse on a daily, weekly, monthly bases. Since Nov.2010. I have tryed many abortive meds but can’t take a lot of them because of bad side effects. I am on a treatment plan in the e.r. from my migraine specialist whom I started working with in April. My family doc has no clue what to do with my migraines. The go to cocktail is benadryl toradol and zofran. No matter what doc I see this is the first step that is always takin and doesn’t do anything for relief and I’m starting to think the toradol might be making it worse. My problem frustration is that my allergy list has come so long that the er docs started treating me with nubain which is the only thing that takes them away 100% . my problem is now that every time i go to the er they think im just out for the pain meds. tonight i went to the er lookin for help i have had this migraine since monday and is just gettin more painful by the min. i waited two hours in the waiting room before i was in a room the doctor comes in hostal and yelling. i explaned the situation to her (5 day migraine no relief and had the cocktail in the infusion center) i asked if we could try meds from my care plan or earlier this week i went in was there 7 hrs and gotten awhole mess of meds but the last set seemed to give me relief and put me to sleep! so i asked if maybe that was a option oh boy I thought she was hostel before I was wrong! She flipped I’m the doctor I tell u what u can have not the other way around its my license at risk! So she refused any treatment and sent me home hysterical. I am so confused I ask for nubain I’m a drug seeker I ask for non pain med treatment I’m in the wrong! And my care plan is approved by my specialist, family doc and head er docs. How fallowing that puts her at risk is beyond me. So I guess I’m venting and asking for suggestions. How do I get the appropriate medical care I deserve with out having to fight tooth and nail for it.( by the way I forgot to mention both my specialist and family doc are on vacation which is why I have had two er visits this week) besides for the specialist I have done my own research taking it to my doc to talk over I through a nurse found out about the specialist and got into him and now i finely have a appointment with the university of Iowa headache clinic in October. So my question I guess is how do i present info to the docs without stepping on there toes and making them realize I am looking for the best treatment for me that works and everyone is comfortable with me having … I’m tired of fighting and being in pain and not being able to live my life thanks all for listening and any advice!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    prettygirl26 – I feel your pain and many others here do as well. Most of us who have had the unfortunate experience of needing a trip to the ER end up having a bad experience… physicians and others who do not understand or have mistreated patients. It’s a sad fact of life. The ER is not a good place for Migraineurs.

    However, there ARE some things here you can read to hopefully give you a few ideas of different ways to attack the problem:

    Why does the ER treat me like a drug seeker? https://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/why-does-the-emergency-department-treat-me-like-a-drug-seeker/

    Tips and tricks for a successful ER visit https://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/tips-and-tricks-for-a-successful-emergency-department-visit/

    When to see the ER for your Migraine https://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/when-doctor-er-for-migraine/

    Migraines from the ER doctor’s perspective: https://migraine.com/blog/expert-featured-article/guest-expert/migraines-from-an-er-doctor%e2%80%99s-perspective/

    Migraine and the ER: A follow up interview https://migraine.com/blog/expert-featured-article/migraine-the-er-%e2%80%93-a-follow-up-interview/

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  • By prettygirl26

    Ellen thank u so much for responding to my post and the information. My migraine specialist is back in the office tomorrow morning. Hopefully we can get the e.r. situation under control because at this point the e.r docs are ignoring my care plan. I ended up back in the e.r the other night I was able to see a doctor this time whom I worked with in the past. Because of the situation and pain i was having i allowed him to give me imitrex which I do have problems with and hadn’t had since 2005 I don’t believe it is a med I will return to because of the added hrs of pain I get from it. I ended up going for a massage yesterday afternoon . With that lots of water and rest I hope to either rid myself of this attack or get me through the next 24 hrs. Thanks again

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Prettygirl – I do hope you get a chance to read the articles as I do think they will be somewhat helpful. That said, it is not an easy situation and I wish I could just take the pain and the attacks away from everybody. Hang in there. Be good to yourself and do what you know is right for your body in your particular situation. Please let us know how it goes…

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  • By prettygirl26

    Ellen I had my appointment today with my migraine specialist. We are starting a new preventive med. I may be getting my first botox treatment in two weeks if my insurance will cover it. He told me at this point its clear the treatments we have tryed aren’t working so he says we are just gonna use nubain as a rescue drug. I also asked about the meds I had gotten from the er earlier last week . which are thorizine and cogentin he said that is something we can revisit as a non pain med option. all in all it was a good visit and things r looking up. thank u for listening and ur support!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Prettygirl, I am glad you responded again. It is often helpful for others o read the experience of other patients. All our experiences are different, but we can learn from each other, and that is one of the biggest advantages of communities like ours… 🙂

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  • By stephaniemccutcheon

    I have had severe migraines now for a year only getting worse. Right now my doctor is trying me on cambia for onset but no more than 2x per week and at night I am on zanaflex and zonegran but I have been on nightly regimen for over 4 weeks now and have not seen an improvement. Its getting discouraging. Is there anything anyone has tried I can suggest to stop the pain? I have a migraine about 3 to 4 days per week in the back of my head my doctor said they are tension migraines.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    stephaniemccutcheon – There is really no such diagnosis as tension Migraine. Tension type headache is one type, and Migraine is another type. There is often neck pain and stiffness which can be felt in the back of the head that comes as a symptom of Migraine that was found to be even more frequently found than nausea! Here is some information on it: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-symptoms-neck-pain/

    Based on your diagnosis/non-diagnosis, I would love to suggest that you find a headache specialist and see if you can get some better help in your Migraine management. https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/ There are other things you can try, but because we aren’t doctors and don’t know your medical history, about all we can do is mention options that exist. Whether or not they are options for you needs to be discussed with a doctor who knows you and your health history as well as Migraine and headache disorders .

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  • By stephaniemccutcheon

    Ellen thank you I do currently have a headache specialist. I apologize I worded that incorrectly it was supposed to say tension and migraine headaches. But I appreciate all info I can get on any new medicines out there or any blogs on migraines so thank you.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    stephaniemccutcheon – You would be amazed how many patients we see each week who think they have tension Migraine. It is usually their doctor’s fault that they don’t know what they really have. I’m glad it was just a typo and you have a good headache specialist, but I’m also kind of glad you made the boo-boo as it gave me the opportunity to address the whole *tension Migraine* thing here. Hopefully someone will read it and learn the truth. So, thank you! 😀

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  • By WR Mom

    I am 47 and had migraines since I was 13 or 14. Zomig 1 dose nasal spray is the only thing that has been helpful. Sometimes, it makes me a little slow feeling, but it almost always makes my headaches go away unless it is a barametric pressure type. It is similar to Imitrex, but my dr. said it affects only the blood vessels to the brain and not your whole body. Since I have been taking this for the past 8 years or so, my headaches have dropped from 10 to 15 per month to about 2 or 3 per month. I haven’t tried the pills, and would only recommend the nasal spray.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    WR Mom – Are you seeing a headache specialist? I ask because Zomig nasal spray is a triptan. As such, it does have a systemic affect. That is to say – it affects the whole body. I’m not sure why your doctor told you that it only affects the brain, leading me to wonder if your doctor is really very familiar with Zomig.

    Nancy brings up a very good point. How many times per week do you take your Zomig? It would be really wise to take great care not to find yourself in MOH (Medication Overuse Headache) as a result of using it more than 3 times a week. 🙂

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  • By jerrica

    Hello everyone I am needing any information that may help my dad get some kind of relief. My dad was recently diagnoased with stage 3 esophogeal cancer and he had a tumor in his chest removed about 3 months ago. About 2 weeks post operation he started having these unbearable headaches and they are still on going. He says it starts at his neck and comes around the sides of his head and the only real relief is when he takes a hot shower. He says his headaches never go away they just become more bearable after showers. He takes a large amount of pain pills because of his cancer and chemo His doctors have also tried muscle relaxers and fiorcet. He has been trying these meds for about 3 weeks now and still no relief. He has also had MRI’s to make sure he doesnt have any tumors and none were present. If anyone has any suggestions PLEASE help. My father is going through a lot right now and the headaches are just making it 10x worse…..thanks

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s cancer, that must be very difficult. This is a complicated situation, one that should probably be managed by a migraine specialist in addition to his other doctors. Let me give you some links to find a specialist; https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/. Sometimes steroids are used to break a bad migraine cycle, but I don’t know how that would interact with all his other meds.
    Fiorect is not a great option because it can create another problem called medication overuse headache; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    jerrica: Cancer meds can cause imbalances and even deficiencies that can both trigger and exacerbate Migraine and other headache disorders. Please talk to his doctor or to a headache specialist to see if there might be a way to test for some of these, locate any problems and fix them.

    Cancer meds are often used for autoimmune conditions. Here is a piece about autoimmune med triggers that might be helpful: https://migraine.com/blog/medication-triggers-in-autoimmune-migraineurs/

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  • By CM

    Anyone have experience with Gralise (gabapentin)? It’s typically used to treat nerve pain after shingles, but I’ve been running through different medications for nearly 10 years and I’ve struggled to find a good one. I started Gralise just after Thanksgiving and new birth control pills about 2 weeks after that. I now have no appetite, horrible nausea, fatigue to the point that I could take two naps a day after sleeping 10 hours at night: basically, I just feel ill to the point I barely get out of bed. I cut back on Gralise to 300mg instead of the 1800 I’m supposed to be taking and it’s helped some but I just feel so sick all the time, and I don’t believe you really can get the flu for 2 weeks or more. My new birth control was just switching brands and I’ve never had side effects before…but I suppose that could be the culprit too. Anyone have thoughts?

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Ummm. My first thought is that it probably isn’t a great idea to start two new medications at the same time because how will you know which one is causing the problem? And it is possible for colds, viruses, flu’s to last for 10-14 days, in fact I am on day 14 of my chest cold! So it could be that. Or it may be that 300 mg is too high a dose for you to start at, even though it is the typical starting dose and maybe you are a bit more susceptible to potential side effects and need a lower dose to start with. Either way a call to your doctor is in order. Will you know what he says?

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  • By lovmypug

    Hi, I’m new to this sight but not to migraines, had them for about 40 years. Many Drs, hospitals, I think every med. I’m on disability for a year now due to migraines. I just almost can’t function any more. I go to The Diamond Headache clinic in Chicago for 7 yrs now. migraines get worse all the time. I don’t know where to go or what to do next. Need help

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    CM – as Nancy said, trying multiple medicines at once is usually not a very good idea. If something helps you, you won’t know what helped, and if you get side effects you won’t know which med caused them… or if it was a combination of meds causing the problem. Yes, even a simple change like a brand change can cause significant problems, particularly with hormones like BCP’s. The side effects you mention could be from either of the changes you made recently.

    I used gabapentin for quite some time. It helped to a small degree, but the side effects were quite severe… for me. Each patient is different however, and we will all react differently to different meds, including gabapentin.

    A trial of gabapentin usually starts with a very low dosage and slowly titrates up to a more effective dosage. Did you start at 1800 mgs daily, or was that where you ended up? Often side effects on these medicines can be lessened or even completely eliminated by starting low and going very slowly up in dosages. An appropriate trial of this medicine means getting to the highest effective dosage and staying there for at least 3 months. If at that time it still isn’t helping, or the side effects are too much to bear, then it’s probably time to talk to your doctor about moving on to something else. There is another drug similar to gabapentin called pregabalin that might be more effective for you, and has a history of far fewer side effects. As you can tell by the name, it is a precursor to gabapentin and works nearly the same, but because of those few subtle differences, often is more effective for patients.

    Please, never ever stop this medicine without consulting your doctor first. Doing so can result in serious side effects including seizures. As a first responder I’ve seen more than one patient try to stop these meds with terrible results.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    lovmypug – Hi, and welcome to our forum!

    I wish I could tell you that a particular clinic is the place to go for Migraine and headache treatment, however the truth of the matter is that the differences are in the doctors, not the place they practice.

    Have you had a frank discussion with your current doctor re: your Migraine management goals? This might be a good place to start. Most doctors in these clinics do not want to give up on their patients, but they often don’t understand their patients’ goals well enough to help them to the degree the patient expects. Sometimes the patient has expectations that are simply not reachable. Where you fall in this really should be discussed however. Starting over with a new doctor is sometimes necessary, however it is a long process and could be an unnecessary setback if a simple conversation with your current physician will do the trick.

    Here are a couple of links you might want to check out:

    Do you and your specialist disagree on the severity of your Migraine Disease? https://migraine.com/blog/do-you-and-your-specialist-disagree-on-the-severity-of-your-migraine-disease/

    Looking For A Migraine Specialist? https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

    Is It Time for a New Migraine Doctor? https://migraine.com/blog/is-it-time-for-a-new-migraine-doctor/

    Migraine Management Essential 4: Preventive Treatment https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-4-preventive-treatment/

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  • By Jodi Kitts

    I too am a fellow migraine sufferer (well, a lot less now). It started early on in life and I tried every migraine medicine possible and then some. Most provided some amount of relief, but not long term and it took so long for them to kick in. The side effects of tearing up my stomach to making my limbs feel like they weight 4x their weight to being jittery and a host of others did not sit will with me though. I had a friend that was politely “nagging” me for about a year to try this protein powder. I was very skeptical. I put it off and put it off. Finally, I caved because I figured I had nothing to lose. Shaklee Energizing Protein [content edited for spam]

    I am told it works for a couple of reasons. Because it a complete, non-GMO, unaltered protein (not cooked during any of the processing or anything like that) – it contains ALL of the amino acids your body needs.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Hi Jodi Kitts – While this thread really is for medicines, even Hippocrates said “Let your food be your medicine”.

    The biggest concern I have about this particular product is that it contains MSG – a potent and known Migraine trigger for the majority of Migraineurs. I’m glad it doesn’t pose a problem for you, but it will for a large number of people.

    For more information on MSG:

    Migraine Triggers: MSG – Untangling this Hidden Migraine Trigger https://migraine.com/blog/msg-untangling-this-hidden-migraine-trigger/

    Migraine Triggers: How Do I Locate Hidden MSG Migraine Triggers? https://migraine.com/blog/locate-hidden-msg-migraine-triggers/

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  • By Jodi Kitts

    Hi Ellen-
    In response to the MSG in the Shaklee Energizing Protein, I called Shaklee directly because I get migraines from MSG as well so I did not believe this to be accurate, but wanted to post their direct response:

    There is no added or hidden MSG in any Shaklee product. MSG occurs in several forms. The form with the bad rap is “free glutamate,” the kind of MSG typically added to foods to enhance flavor. There is no added MSG or “free glutamate” in any Shaklee product.

    Consumers may be surprised to learn that MSG is pretty much unavoidable in a balanced diet. This is because MSG occurs naturally in many foods,[1] and is present in every cell of the human body. Meat, milk, cheeses, tomatoes, green peas, and corn are rich in free glutamate, the very same compound used to add flavor to many prepared foods.

    Glutamic acid is a protein building block in all complete proteins. Free glutamate is formed when glutamic acid is metabolized. So we ask: Is there MSG or free glutamate in soy protein? No. Is MSG or free glutamate formed when soy protein is consumed? Yes, because all complete proteins contain glutamic acid, which breaks down into free glutamate or MSG when metabolized.

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  • By danielle

    I am a 29 year old female. I have been having migraines for 8 years now. They are for the most part un-controlled. I have tried several different medications, starting with topomax and moving on.
    I am now taking Neurontin 800 mg, 3x daily. It worked ok while I was pregnant, but now not so much. I still suffer from migraines at least 5 days a week, most of the time 7.
    I was pregnant so they couldn’t do much for me, but we tried lidocaine injections and that didn’t help.
    I go back to the headache clinic next week, and I’m just wondering what I should talk to him about. Changing medications….again? Should I try Botox? Has anyone had any luck with surgeries?
    I did try a gluten free diet and that didn’t help.
    I also take magnesium and B2 twice a day.
    Thanks for any help!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Jodi Kitts – Although I believe the basic information given to you by them is accurate (which is discussed in the links I provided) the problem with this is how labels are being cleaned up. It is not the product being cleaned, but the labels.

    When a company uses a compound that is extremely high in free glutamates, or after the body has metabolized it and that results in an influx of free glutamates, it acts identical to lab created MSG. It is not a lab created chemical called MSG so they can legally say they do not use MSG, however the results in the body are the same. It really is semantics. The articles discuss this at length. Soy protein is high in chemicals that are metabolized into free glutamates, which in the end is what triggers Migraine in many Migraineurs. Might it also contain other things that help to offset this for particular patients – maybe. As we are fond of saying here, we are all individuals and how our Migraines are triggered and managed will differ for all of us.

    Our bodies must have glutamate, but it is when levels fluctuate, we are unbalanced, or our bodies don’t use it appropriately that it can be a problem. It is thought that Migraineurs may suffer from any of these situations, or even all, which is what seems to set us up for problems.

    Some management drugs specifically work by acting on how the body utilizes glutamate, and it is thought this is how they are preventing Migraine. This is how sensitive some of us can be to these issues. It sounds like you are not one of them, so if what you’re doing is working for you, then why mess with success?! My point is that many of us (the majority who are affected by glutamates) will probably not find this to be the case… a point that can be said for many things when we’re talking Migraine. Discussing it here helps others who may be unaware of potential problems, to become educated about the potential issues.

    Again, what is bad for one, may be good for another. We just want to be sure that patients are fully educated to the possibilities 🙂

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  • By Jodi Kitts

    Hi Ellen –
    Thanks for the reply. It certainly makes sense that us migraineurs are all so unique. I am not sure why I react poorly and get migraines from soups, salad dressings, etc. with MSG and this works so well for me, but I’m going to keep on keeping on! I certainly hope others that have tried countless medications consider giving it a try. I was a big disbeliever and now I am a different woman and feel better than I even could have imagined. Our complicated bodies and brains are miracles and still so much remains unknown! 🙂

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  • By genieskinner

    I am not sure which forum is the best to post this question to. I am 45 years old, and I have debilitating chronic migraines that keep me housebound. Quite honestly, I am feeling as though life is not very worthwhile and I am really needing to find some way to get ahead of this even if just a little. My PP has refused to give me a referral to a neurologist. I have tried calling neurologist myself, and they have said that I have to have a referral and most of them want the referral to come within their “network” and it is a 4-5 month wait for an appointment. My Dr. is independent. I have had an MRI and CT scan in the last year, and they just showed white matter, nothing else significant. My Dr. says “there is nothing wrong with your brain, it is just migraines.” I am on 100 mg Topamax, DHE injections, and Zofran . I know there are MANY other treatment options but I don’t know how to get to them without getting into a neurologist. And, I feel like death so it is hard to advocate for myself. I have long ago eliminated all of the common triggers from my diet, including artificial sweeteners, MSG, alcohol, and caffeine. We eat primarily whole foods, no packaged or canned foods.

    I don’t know how to get help. But there has to be something more that can be done. My life is slipping away.

    I do have an appointment to establish a new doctor, but it is a month away from now. I don’t know anything about this doctor, if they will be any better about helping me, if they know anything about migraines. I wish there was a directory somewhere that listed migraine knowledgeable doctors.

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  • By momsgurl44

    hello im 41 years old i have headaches lot,i have them like everyday.only thing i take is excedrin for my headaches.is there something else i can do besides take pain pills?

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    lonestargurl1 – Yes there is. There are preventive medicines that can help prevent the attacks in the first place. Here is a link on them: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-4-preventive-treatment/

    Additionally I want to warn you that taking pain medicine daily can actually worsen the condition. MOH (Medication Overuse Headache) is one of those awful conditions that happens when the brain actually changes in response to the pain meds (and other meds) and you end up often even worse than you began because now you are in a daily cycle that seems nearly impossible to get out of. Please read this link on MOH: https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/

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  • By Skeeterette

    I am wondering the time frame for migraine relief that others get from their migraine meds? I have been on Maxalt, and was just given the new generic… both times I have taken this, I have had to take dose number 2, as the migraine was worse 2 hours after the first dose. However, I do have major vomiting & am afraid I am not getting much of my meds to begin with. Have an appt. with my Dr. next week to seek alternate meds.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Skeeterette – It really varies from patient to patient. Some get very fast relief, especially from the MLT’s. However, others just don’t absorb it especially well and don’t get full benefit at all. Can you try another triptan to see if it might be more effective? You can also try other delivery systems for other triptans, such as injections, and even a new patch that will be available hopefully after the summer. There are lots of choices for you. Hang in there!

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  • By Kerry P

    I’m new here….and all I can say is what haven’t I been on! Besides the plethora of vitamins and supplements my new dr. prescribed, I also take Topiramate daily and when I have migraine attacks (about 2-3 times a month lasting 2-3 days each) I take Fioricet with Codeine. I’m way overdrugged. The only thing that works is the fior/code. Of course, I told my new Dr. this. She said the topir could take up to a year to work. Really, it’s been that long and still nothing! What does she do? Cut the fior/code in half. Can anyone guess what’s happening? Yup, more migraines and they’re more severe and all of a sudden I started getting tinnitus within the last month. Great, I go to escape to a quiet dark room and I can’t get this buzzing out of my head. Now the high-pitch squeal is 24/7 and I’m thinking about driving 6 hours away to go see my old Dr. She actually knew about migraines!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Kerry,

    I haven’t said welcome yet! Welcome to the discussion forum. There are a few things that could be going on here, one being fioricet is not the best option to treat migraine because it masks the pain and can actually change pain pathways. Ellen just wrote an excellent article on this you can read about in this link; https://migraine.com/blog/the-confusion-about-codeineopioids-and-migraine/.

    Opioids can also create medication overuse headache or MOH. This is a problem no one wants to have. MOH occurs when we take migraine abortive medications, or certain pain relievers such as otc or prescription medications more than two to three days a week. Here is more information on moh; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/.

    Any new medication we start can take up to three months before we see a reduction in our migraine frequency and severity as our body adjusts to it, longer if the dose is adjusted. We may also see potential side effect lessen during this time. A year for Topamax to work? That seems a bit excessive. However, one of the potential side effects of Topamax is tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
    Is it time to see an expert in migraine? One who is board certified in headache medicine. Let me give you information on how to find one; 1. https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/ and what’s so different about them; 2. https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/.

    I hope this helps, let me know OK?

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  • By auraqueen

    I am new to this site but very happy to see all the support out there for sufferers like myself. I have had migraines for 29 years normally with aura. My question has to do with aura and the use of the triptans. Approximately, 12 years ago I stopped using the triptans. I had tried Imitrex, Relpax, Zomig etc they gave some relief but not total relief and I was still generally not able to go about my day. The last one I tried was Zomig and I was under the care of a neurologist. I started finding that if I took the medication during the aura phase it would dull the pain, however, I would get another aura and then another one. I asked my doctor about it and he thought it was unlikely that the triptan was causing this. Now I am no doctor but my understanding of the aura phase is that the blood vessels are constricting. The pain phase is when the blood vessels are enlarged. My thinking is that it doesn’t make sense to take a medication that constricts the blood vessels when they are all ready constricting and that must be the reason I was getting multiple auras. My neurogologist didn’t get my logic. Has anyone else experienced this? I am going through a very bad bout of migraines and am tempted to go back to a doctor and start the triptans again but am afraid to especially in light of the fact that people with auras have a greater chance of a stroke. thanks in advance!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    northof55 – Welcome to the site! I hope you get a chance to peruse it a bit and learn about Migraine. 🙂

    What you have described here is an old, disproven theory called the vascular theory. We now know that Migraine is a neurological disease that *often* involves the blood vessels too.

    Triptans are not known to usually cause multiple auras. That said, if you are concerned, or if this is a new symptom, you should talk to a doctor about it. My suggestion is that you see a Migraine and headache specialist who has additional training to appropriately diagnose, treat and manage your Migraines. Here is a link that might be helpful to you: https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

    Triptans are not very effective once central sensitization and allodynia have set in, and they do wear off. It’s possible you might be dealing with one of these scenarios, but you really need to see that specialist to get a good diagnosis what’s going on.

    Stroke is rare, but yes, it can happen. It is something you should be aware of, but not worry too much about, especially if you are under the care of a good doctor who can help you navigate your treatment options.

    Are you on a preventive medicine yet?

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  • By Laurie Vincent

    My neurologist has me take two Aleve to get rid of a Migraine. If I don’t experience less pain he has me take two Tylenol 3’s about 20 to 30 minutes later. The combination of the two medicines knocks the pain out for me. I have two minor cardiac arrythmias called SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) and PAC’s (Premature Atrial Contractions), so my Neurologist and my Cardiologist said that I can’t take any Migraine Abortive medicines at all. I hope that others can try this combination and get the same pain relief that I have.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Laurie Vincent – I am so sorry to hear about your cardiac issues. This definitely does complicate things. Are you able to drink caffeinated beverages at all?

    Like you, I cannot take triptans or ergotamines and Prodrin gives me heart issues so is reserved for times of desperation only.

    The thing that worries me is the potential for the use of these medicines to contribute to increased frequency and severity of your Migraines called chronic Migraine. Additionally, there is something called Medication Overuse Headache that you should know about: https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/

    There are other options for you that may be helpful. For starters, are you on any preventive medications? This is a great way to go if you have cardiac issues, as some of the meds cross over and can be helpful for multiple needs. Additionally, there is magnesium, which is used with a lot of good results, in and out of a hospital setting.

    Are you seeing a Migraine specialist? When you’re in a tough spot like we are, these really are the best doctors for us to see because they are the most knowledgeable and competent in diagnosis, treatment and management of Migraine disease. Here is a link to find one in your area: https://migraine.com/?s=specialist

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  • By margaret

    I no longer suffer with migraines!! I have to let everyone know that there’s help out there. I have been a migraine sufferer for the last 13 years with my migraines getting progessively worse every year. I would get them about 12 times a month where I would have to be bed ridden (which is probably the same story as most of you). I had lost all hope at the age of 38. I have tried EVERYTHING but to no avail. Then this year there was an article in the Chatelaine magazine regarding migraines and it has changed my life forever! http://www.chatelaine.com/health/wellness/migraine-therapy/ I have been in treatment for past 5 weeks and have had only 2 migraines (which were tolerable). I’m still in treatment and there are people from all across Canada, the United States and further. I know how migraines can take over you life and I know how the desperatation people feel for a cure. I would never want to give any false hope to anyone but please look into this treatment and I am sure that it can change you life as it did mine!

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    margaret75 – Yes, thankfully, some patients do find relief with acupuncture. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help all patients – boy I wish it did. I tried it several times myself. I’m really glad you’ve found results that make you happy. If it worked for you, that’s reason to smile 🙂

    I’d like to mention a point you made – you tried everything. Truthfully, to try only single medications it would take in excess of 25 years to accomplish trials in them all. Now combine them or add in adjuct or complementary treatments too, and well, it can take a lifetime to give them all a go. For this reason it is vitally important that patients who aren’t having luck with their current doctors and treatments get to a specialist who has had additional training and expertise to help them. I wish I could tell you the number of patients that think they’re seeing the right doctor, but aren’t. Frequently getting to the right doctor is enough to finally put the puzzle pieces together to see results.

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  • By margaret

    Hi Ellen,
    I have tried acupuncture myself and it didn’t work either. I want to point out that the acupuncture technique that is used in this clinic is not used ANYWHERE else. Even though it’s acupuncture it’s not the same. It’s very hard to explain. You really just have to try it to understand.
    It really breaks my heart thinking about how many people suffer on a daily basis. I would just like to send the message out there that there is still hope and not to get discouraged!

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  • By Lisa Zimmerman

    Ideas? I have recently changed my primary dr after far too long, which led to several things he told me were non-issues now being properly dealt with. For instance, I have fibromyalgia and while he did say I appeared to have it, he said it was a “hysterical” condition” that just needed a good antidepressant. Anyway! Treatment issues… I developed serotonin syndrome — all the symptoms anyway — when tried cymbalta. Went to ER and was in hospital overnight because of it. I bring this up because I apparently can’t handle Triptans either. My wonderful new neurologist has me on topomax, and started me out on midrin as a migraine abortive, but wanted better results than 3-4 doses for it to work. I didn’t want imitrex, having had a BAD reaction to it 20 years ago, so she gave me samples of relpax and zomig. I was reluctant but said i would try them.

    Took relpax yesterday for a migraine. On the plus side, it ended my migraine in an hour. WOW! But, about the time the migraine faded, side effects kicked in…muscle cramps that began in my neck & spread into my jaw (TIGHT) and down into my shoulders and arms. Then I felt disconnected. I called my neuro when the office opened, and it wasn’t til noon when she called back. In the meantime, I had made the mistake of being home alone and giving in to insane sleepiness and falling asleep. She said she called 3 times before I answered and i was so incoherent when talking to her on the phone she was on the verge of sending an ambulance for me. In the end, she got me to call my husband home, told me to bring back my samples i hadn’t used and exchange them for something else (Cambia?). She was extremely worried, but didn’t think it was a stroke since every symptom was bilateral. Oh, then I got a killer rebound headache last night for good measure. On ONE dose of relpax?!

    I don’t like Demerol/Nubian/related meds and refuse to go to an ER for migraines as that was all I ever got when I went when younger. I like topomax because it is the best fibromyalgia med i have taken so far, but for migraines, I seem to be having more not fewer. And even for fibro I seem to have a fast tolerance to it. What else can I take for migraines?? Oh yeah… With my old doc, I was having 20 – 26 headache days a month, about 10-15 full blown migraines. My migraines can start with either nausea or muscle pain in my neck, but always light sensitivity and an ice pick to my right eye. I get Alice in Wonderland symptoms frequently and before topomax, had vertigo 24/7.

    Thanks for any ideas. Now that I am looking for help, drug reactions are frustrating!

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Lisa,

    First let me apologize for not getting back to you sooner, I’m sorry about that. Let’s see what I can do to help you out.

    I am overjoyed that you are seeing a new GP. To say fibromyalgia is a “hysterical condition” is not only ignorant, but insulting. Fibromyalgia is a real disorder and I’m happy to hear you’ve found a doctor who is willing work with you on a treatment plan.

    I’m not sure if your neurologist has spoken with you about trigger identification and management. This is a key component in any migraine management plan. Most if not all migraines are triggered by something whether it’s skipping meals, eating certain foods, getting dehydrated, smelling certain odors, changes in the barometric pressure and many other things. It’s important to identify what our triggers are so we can avoid the ones and try and manage those we cannot avoid, like weather and hormones. The best way to find out what our triggers are is to keep a migraine journal. There are many options today to do so; you can use an app on your smart phone, a program on your computer or laptop or notebook and of course there is still the “old fashion” pen and paper way. Migraine.com has something called the Migraine Meter I’ll give you the link to so you can investigate that; https://migraine.com/migraine-meter/ and here is information on migraine triggers; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-trigger-management/.

    Keeping a regular sleep schedule seven days a week is very important for people with migraine. It seems that many of us have overly sensitive brains and sleep regularity is extremely important even on the weekends. Many patients have told me the feel much better when they keep a regular sleep schedule. We have information on sleep triggers in this series by Ellen; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-triggers-sleep-1/.

    There are also complementary therapies one can look into to help control migraine that include vitamins, massage, biofeedback and more. Let me give you information on these; https://migraine.com/complimentary-and-alternative-therapies/

    You mention you are getting a lot of “headache” days along with 10-15 migraine days. It’s important to know exactly what type of “headache” you are having because 20-26 headache days is too much. Are these tension-type headache that trigger a migraine? Or is there anything you take, even over-the-counter like Advil or Tylenol to help relieve your pain every day? A problem we can unwittingly create is called medication overuse headache. This happens if we take migraine abortive medications such as the triptans or any kind of pain medication, prescription or over-the-counter, more than two or three days a week. Here is information on moh; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/

    Current thinking is if we have three or more severe migraines a month, we need to have a talk with our doctor about migraine prevention, or in your case a conversation about the possibility of adjusting your Topamax dose. To receive the most benefit from Topamax it’s best taken in a split dose, morning and evening, let me give you information on this; https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/topamax/dosage/.

    At this point you may want to see a migraine specialist who is THE expert who treats migraine and headache all day, every day. Neurologists may be fine doctors but have a difficult time being experts in one area because they treat so many conditions like MS, epilepsy and Parkinson’s. Migraine specialists are just that, the experts who are board certified in headache medicine. Here is information on why these doctors are so special; https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/ and when you want to find on take a look at this link; https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/.

    I know I’ve given you a ton of information. Go through it when you can and let me know what you think.
    Nancy

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  • By Lisa Zimmerman

    Hi Nancy! I actually rarely took anything for “normal” headaches, and my typical treatment for migraines before i started seeing the neurologist was to take exedrin migraine, with a coke if I had one handy. Even then, I would reserve that for only days i knew I absolutely had to be at 100% at school – if I was running a lab for my classes, had a lot of interactive teaching to do, where I had to be “on”. I am not very good at taking medicines and side effect of growing up as a gymnast, I always heard, “you’re an athlete, you need to be able to handle the pain.” So my pain tolerance kinda got jacked…i had the pain, but i just forgot i wasnt supposed to be that miserable.

    I know my most common triggers and avoid them — wine & beer; flashing/strobe-type lights like fire alarms in schools, or on police cars, etc.; weather/pressure changes; lack of sleep; and hormonal. I am post-menopausal 4 years now (& only 43!) so the hormonal effect is gone. I don’t drink. I am on medical leave from teaching, so don’t have the constant threat of a fire alarm going off to trigger a migraine, but can’t always avoid police & fire lights in public. I dont even go to movies, because the flashes of movies can cause migraines. I haven’t been able to do much about lack of sleep, as insomnia comes and goes, but the topomax is helping with fibro pain, which helps with the insomnia some, which helps with migraines. I don’t seem to have a change in headaches based in caffeine consumption, but caffeine does help with some migraines. I have tried to track other reasons for migraines without success. The longer i am on topomax, the more it seems to be helping.

    The neurology office I go to actually has sub-specialists within it — ALS, MS, Headache Center. My neurologist was a generalist, because they figure out what each patient needs than send you on from there to the right specialist, so I will be seeing the headache neurologist this August.

    Thanks for the other information! I will have to look into complementary therapies. I do think topomax is a godsend, but as I said, I am not good at taking medications daily. That is having to change, as I have 2 auto-immune disorders as well as the fibro and migraines and GI issues. However, anything that reduces my independence on medications is a good thing!

    Thanks for the help!

    Lisa

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Lisa Zimmerman – I wish someone would do a research study to try to figure out how many patients actually suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of bad treatment by doctors when they are sick. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this.

    A couple things to talk about here:

    Fibromyalgia is one pain condition that can sometimes react really well to anti-depressant therapy. This therapy is not used because you’re hysterical or depressed but because of its action on the brain chemicals that can be helpful for pain. We even use anti-depressants for Migraine because of the way it works on brain chemicals. Drugs can have lots of different uses thanks to helpful side effects for which they were not usually originally intended. Here is a post about neurotransmitters that might be helpful to you: https://migraine.com/blog/why-are-neurotransmitters-important-to-my-migraine-brain/

    You’re right, drug reactions can be more than frustrating, they can be flat out dangerous. I hope your doctor is taking this situation very seriously.

    As to your muscle tightness etc. Serotonin Syndrome (while possible) is much more unlikely than other conditions that could cause the same or similar symptoms. Only your doctor can diagnose you, but I can shoot a couple of ideas in your direction.

    One of them that is actually very common with Migraine patients but rarely diagnosed is called a tardive reaction – specifically Tardive Dystonia. Tardive reactions can be short lived and temporary, or very severe and permanent. Which category you fall into can’t be known until it happens. I am one who had one of these reactions with something called extrapyrmidal symptoms (Dystonic spasms that were body-wide and lasted for many hours before treatment was begun). They were extremely severe, and although I’ve gotten better, it is now a permanent part of my life. Here is more information on these kinds of reactions, but you’ll want to do some more research and find a doctor called a Movement Disorder Specialist, preferably before you have to use one of those medicines again. Here are those links:

    How Can I Keep Medicines Down so They Will Work? https://migraine.com/blog/how-can-i-keep-my-migraine-medicines-down-so-they-will-work/

    Migraine Triggers and Comorbidities: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-triggers-and-comorbidities-dystonia/

    Dystonia Avoidable Medications List: http://www.spasmodictorticollis.org/media/pdf/Broch-Meds.pdf While this list is FAR from complete, it is the best online right now. A suggestion would be to do a search using the name of a medicine you’re taking and the word Dystonia, Tardive, “uncontrolled muscle movements” or Extrapyramidal.

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  • By Melanie

    I’ve read articles on the site for some time now but this is my first foray into the community.

    I’ve been migraining now for 25 years, the last 5-6 years I’ve gone from episodic to chronic. If there is a preventative and abortive I’ve tried it. I am now at the point where I am spending 15-20 days every month with a migraine. I just had my second round of Botox, round one showed no appreciable change to the number, duration or severity. I am quite frankly at my wits end. In a recent conversation with my doc I asked when we decided that this was disabling me, the response was they have no patients in the practice on disability, they do not believe this is permanently disabling and they keep trying and working with the patient to control the headaches.

    I feel a high level of frustration with regards to their views regarding pain management. They believe in the use of anti-inflamatory meds and steroids. My PCP had been prescribing stadol, which I’d been using as a successful tool for years, with no issues with rebound and I found the stadol would let me sleep and I’d often wake up with my migraine gone. My neurologist decided we would remove the stadol, they do not use that with any of their patients based on concern with rebound. I am now allowed a small number of fioricet for pain when needed. Stopping the stadol did not reduce the frequency of my headaches.

    My migraines continue to become more frequent and really affect my quality of life. I’ve done the elimination diet to determine my triggers, I know my environmental triggers, plus there is the weather, hormones etc.

    I feel more like I subsist as opposed to exist. If this round of Botox doesn’t work I will be looking for a new neuro/headache specialist. I just wonder how I go about asking about their theories of prevention, acute treatment, pain management and other issues without sounding like I am drug seeking. I honestly feel like I had better migraine management when I just worked with my PCP.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time, but it really sounds like the time has come for you to see a “true” migraine specialist. The doctor or better stated, the expert who is board certified in headache medicine. Neurologists may be fine doctors but aren’t necessarily “true” migraine specialists. They may call themselves ‘headache specialists’ but unless they are board certified in headache medicine, they are not experts in this field. Migraine specialists treat migraine and headache disorders all day, every day, and that’s the kind of doctor it sounds like you need now. Let me share some information with you on this; https://migraine.com/blog/how-are-migraine-specialists-different/ and then when you want to look for one read this information; https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/.

    The thing with pain management is it masks the pain it does not abort a migraine attack. You didn’t mention an abortive now, are you taking any? Or is there a medication you take every day to relieve your pain, OTC or prescription? The thing is if we take migraine abortive medications such as the triptans or any kind of pain medication, prescription or over-the-counter, more than two or three days a week can create a situation called medication overuse headache, or moh. If we have moh we will have head pain every day and migraines that are more difficult to treat. Caffeine is included here because it is considered a stimulant, and a small sub set of us are very sensitive to caffeine, and must remove it from our diet. Here is information on moh; https://migraine.com/migraine-meter/
    https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/.

    I hope this helps,
    Nancy

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  • By merrie

    I am wondering what other options there are to treat a migraine when it comes besides trptans. I have a bad reaction to all of them, and the chest pain, neck and jaw pain etc do nothing to help my migraine. I would really like to stop taking fioricet as I font think it helps that much, but right now that and phenergan are the only thing that helps AT ALL. I know that prevention is key, and I am waiting on my appointment with the Dr to work in that, but I also would like to bring a list of possible rescue meds with me as alternativesto fioricet. Also, pretty sure I need to stop the phenergan due to recent muscle spasms that lasted for hours after I took it…so any good anti nauseous meds? Also I was wondering if anyone knows whether different delivery methods result in different side effects as I took immitrex once years ago and it worked, but never again. I am wondering if I should give it another try thru a different delivery method. Yes I have tried naratriptan ( the one with immitrex and aleve I think).

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  • By Teri Robert

    merrie,

    You ask about alternatives for triptans, then go on to say that you want to take a list of possible rescue meds with you. Just to be sure, we’re using the same terms, triptans aren’t rescue meds; they’re abortive meds. Here are a couple of links for you that explain the two types of meds:

    Migraine Management Essential 5: Abortive Treatment – https://migraine.com/blog/living-with-migraine/migraine-management-essential-5-abortive-treatment/

    Migraine Management Essential 6: Rescue Treatment – https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-rescue-treatment/

    One other note, naratriptan (brand name Amerge) isn’t the triptan medication that combines Imitrex and Aleve. That’s Treximet. The triptans are Imitrex (now available as generic sumatriptan), Amerge (now available as generic naratriptan), Maxalt (now available as generic rizatriptan, Zomig (now available as generic zolmitriptan, Axert, Relpas, Frova, and then the combination Treximet.

    There are some ergotamine aborbtive medications too, mainly D.H.E. 45, which can be self-administered by subcutaneous injection, and Migranal, which is a nasal spray.

    The list of potential rescue medications, which are to be used if abortives fail or if you can’t use the abortives, is long and includes several different types of medications. You’ll find more on that in the link above.,

    Hope this helps,
    Teri

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  • By merrie

    Hi Teri,
    Sorry for the confusion. It was late and I (of course)had/have a migraine. What I should have said is…Because I have now tried all the triptans (sorry I get mixed up with which ones which as far as brand names),I wanted to know if there were any other abortive or rescue meds other than fioricet, which I do not like and does not help. In other words, something to take when I get a migraine while I am working on preventing them 🙂 I am a chronic migrainer now, so I know that prevention is key, but that is a long process which I really have only begun in the last year, and due to changing drs (for the worse unfortunately) and now changing back, I have not gotten very far with prevention. Thank you for the links. I asked this specific question because my now former Dr seemed to think that if triptans gave me chest pain and other bad side effects I was sol as far as treating my migraines, and that there really were not any other options than topamax to prevent them. Now I know that isn’t the case as far as preventative meds bc I have read on here many times that there are over 100. I just wasn’t sure if there was any alternative to the Triptan class of meds. I want to be as informed as possible before my next appointment. Again, thanks, and sorry for the confusion.
    Merrie
    Ps…just read the links and the word I was searching for was acute treatment as opposed to preventative…gotta love the migraine brain fog, can’t believe I couldn’t remember the word acute 🙂 🙁

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi merrie,

    I know how confusing all the different terms and medications can be, so let me see what I can do to help clear things ups a bit, OK?

    Teri gave you great links to start you off. But I noticed you asked about “acute” treatment. The word acute used in this fashion is similar to using the word abort. Abortive (or acute) medications are triptans and egotamines, and Teri gave you a good link up above on abortives.

    In short, really short, our migraine management plan goes something like this;;

    Step one- prevent a migraine attack; avoid triggers, maintain a healthy lifestyle and use preventive medication if needed.

    Step two- when an attack occurs take an abortive such as a triptan or ergotamine.

    Step three- if the abortive doesn’t work, use a rescue medication such as an NSAID, muscle relaxer or other medication – Teri gave you a link for this information up above too.

    Does that make sense? Let me know, OK?

    Nancy

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  • By merrie

    Yes Nancy…I am unconfused now lol 🙂 I was just amazed in my last post that I couldn’t initially remember the word acute. I have tried all the triptan abortives, but not the Dhe 45, or migranal. I wonder if those would work better for me. I really need something better than fioricet, and don’t need the additional headaches it is so likely to cause. I have enough thank you haha. I also am curious as to whether one delivery method is different from another with regard to effectiveness and side effects…ie nasal spray spray vs injection vs pill vs melting pill etc. I would be willing to doale out the money to try forms of abortive triptans other than a pill if there was any reason to think they would work better.
    Merrie

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    HI merrie,

    Melt tablets and injects do get into our system faster than a pill does, and it avoids the issue some people have with holding down medications during a migraine attack. The side effect profile of the medication is the same, except you might have a small irritation from an injection and unpleasant taste from a melt tab.

    You’ve tried all seven of them? You may want to try one or two again. I did at one point and it worked well for a bit. Then I experienced some unwanted side effects and have since stopped using them.

    Fioricet an opioid pain reliever is not the best solution for a migraine because it won’t stop the migraine process and it has the risk of medication overuse headache.

    Hang in there,
    Nancy

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  • By merrie

    Hi Nancy,
    I just went through all seven in the last three months…talk about expensive! They almost all caused chest pain, and while I did not die…it was not pleasant, and and they did not relieve the migraine. I have not, however, tried any form other than pill. I have had a migraine constantly for the last week, with only a brief hour of less migraine.e due to an emergency room visit and some torodol that sort of worked very briefly. I have had enough, but have nowhere to turn. Last night my husband brought me home food because I was hungry, but by the time he got home I was so nauseous I could not eat. I have eaten maybe five times in the last week, and thrown up many more than that:(

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  • By merrie

    I am wondering if anybody knows any good drs in the Boston area. I have been to see the one headache specialist in Maine, and it was not a productive relationship.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi merrie,

    If you experience those symptoms with all the triptans it may be a good idea to investigate ergotamines as Teri mentioned above, DHE-45 and migranal nasal spray.

    You must be pretty hungry? Don’t let yourself become dehydrated, that will trigger and keep a migraine going for what seems like forever.

    Here is a link so you can find a board certified migraine specialist in the northease; https://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/. Take note of the number of board certified migraine specialists in this area; MA, ME, NH, VT, RI and CT. There are quite a few!

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  • By Melanie

    I’m a long time in coming back to respond, but a string of emails reminded me of this conversation here. My migraine action plan is this: take preventatives daily, try and eat balanced meals, get enough sleep, drink enough fluids avoid triggers. When I have aura or prodrome take my triptan if possible (unless weekly limit has been reached), dark rooms, ice packs, anti-inflammatories, lather rinse repeat.

    I take preventatives, Atacand and a new addition Namenda. It is clear now that the second round of Botox was ineffective and we will not be trying another. I still spend at least 15 days per month with migraine. I do use Triptans, no more than two days per week as abortive, my success rate with triptans is about 30/70 at this point. I also use Sprix nasal spray on a limited basis when I go into a status migraine.

    I’m unable to use DHE due to a sever allergic reaction, so those are off the table for me. Suffering from sever nausea with almost every migraine not to mention sensitivity to light/sound/smells/touch has really decreased my quality of life. I’m currently on a medical leave of absence from work because this has made it impossible for me to function in any semblance of normal daily life.

    The doctor I was seeing (I’ve just recently left the practice) was a board certified migraine specialist, they claim to be “THE” place in RI for treatment. I am currently scheduled to see a new, board certified headache specialist, but it will be several more weeks until my appointment, although I am now on their cancellation list and at the ready to show up should there be any opening. I am at the point where I would try anything, short of voo-doo to stop these migraines.

    I keep an extensive migraine journal chronicling migraines, triggers, medications, effectiveness, weather, you name it, I’m tracking it. I go to acupuncture 2x a week and have been doing biofeedback with no success. Nothing I’ve tried in the last 2+ years has shown any statistically significant, or appreciable improvement. In my referral to the new doc I will be seeing soon my PCP glowing speaks of my compliance to protocol and willingness to try anything and our combined frustration at the limited success we’ve had.

    While I very clearly appreciate the prevalence of MOH, and the fact that rescue medications don’t stop the headaches themselves but make the pain at least tolerable, I think there has to be an acceptance of these medications as part of the overall tool box for migraine care.

    There has to be a point where we say enough pain is enough pain, and even though it may not cure the headache someone suffering could get some rest and relief and allow their body to attempt to enter a restorative phase. I know there are plenty of docs, even neurologists out there who just pile on the meds and get patients into an almost zombified state, that isn’t what I’m looking for, nor is it what most are looking for. If i wanted that I could have stayed with my original neuro, who was not a headache specialist and just kept piling on the meds. I just want some quality or life back, to be able to sit in a room with my husband with the lights on and have a conversation, enjoy dinner out, plan a vacation.

    I track what I take and when I take it very carefully to avoid MOH, the very last thing I want it to cause myself more pain.

    One of the main reasons for leaving the practice I’d been visiting until recently was the treatment and advice I received during my last two status migraine episodes, which resulted in them shuttling me off on to the ER which is not an ideal place for migraine treatment. I’ve had 3 ER visits this year, and quite frankly I hate the fact that I’m treated like a drug seeking junkie when I go in with unresolved, intractable migraine.

    Opioid medication is my very last line of defense, but I shouldn’t need to be more than a week into a status migraine before anyone will consider anything more than an infusion of toradol and zofran. And I shouldn’t be treated with disdain or disrespect by medical professionals when I get the the point where all my other options have been exhausted.

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  • By merrie

    Thanks Teri and Nancy. I am going to see if I can get in to either of those drs any time soon. Right now I am on the wait list just to see my old Neuro who is not a ha Dr.

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  • By merrie

    I agree it is frustrating to say the least to go to the er. I just went last week and I still have a migraine…the same one 🙁

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  • By merrie

    I am trying to make an appointment with Dr mcgeeney but they need clinical info sent before scheduling appointments and my current Dr won’t send them without a letter saying I already have an appointment….grrr

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  • By merrie

    Hi Teri,
    The drs office in Boston called and got the records after talking to my current drs office…I guess they had to fax them something in writing. Now I am just waiting for them to call me to hopefully schedule an appointment.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Melaquebella

    You are absolutely correct, you should not be treated with “disdain or disrespect” when opioid treatment is your last line of treatment or at ANY time, by anyone.

    It sounds like you are taking all the necessary steps for a good migraine management plan. The only things I can think of are a few triggers that haven’t been considered, or more likely you just haven’t mentioned them.

    Caffeine is a stimulant, or drug, most people don’t think about. If you consume any caffeine, you may want to think about tapering off it. There is a small set of people with migraine who will be triggered by caffeine AND continued use will lead to moh. Most migraine specialists advocate no caffeine. But please, do not cold turkey this. I tried to and was very sick for two days and I only drank a cup and a half a day! Taper slowly. And no decaf either. even decaf has a tiny bit of caffeine in it an our uber sensitive brains cannot take it!

    Good to hear from you!
    Nancy

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  • By Melanie

    Nancy,

    Thanks, I live a caffeine free life. I will rarely indulge in a small amount of chocolate, because really, a life without any chocolate at all isn’t truly living. 🙂

    Mela

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  • By merrie

    By the way I am trying to see Dr McGeeney, the other Dr you mentioned only does consultation s and you have to have a migraine Dr that will follow their recommendations. So hopefully around Oct my life will be better. I went like 10 Hours with no migraine today. just really got one at 10 pm tonight 🙂 yay me, first time in two weeks I went that long with no migraine.

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  • By merrie

    Migraine back today full tilt. While I am waiting to hopefully get in to a specialist I am going to see my old Dr next week. Maybe he can at least help me or prescribe something other than fioricet which I have not been taking since it does not help and causes rebound migraines.

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  • By Chelsea

    I recently had a huge juggle in my medications due to an increase in frequency in my migraines. I had previously been on Topamax 50mg, which I knew wasn’t enough, but my doctor didn’t seem to give a hoot. I finally found someone who did and he increased me to Topamax 200mg. I was feeling great up until I felt like I had an ant colony crawling under my skin. I know itching is a Topamax side effect but good lord, that was a bit much.

    I have been tapered off the Topamax and switched to Neurontin. I’m only at 200mg right now, but they’d like me at 300mg eventually. It’s also paired with Pristiq 50mg for depression, but my practitioner has said it can aid with migraine maintenance. Has anyone had any successes with Neurontin for a preventative? I chose Neurontin because of the minimal side effects as opposed to what else was out there. I can handle fatigue/drowsiness if I take it at night (I have insomnia so drowsiness can be a good thing!), I just don’t want my migraines to come back. They had gone from multiple migraines a week (or one long migraine lasting 2 weeks) to 1 migraine in 2 weeks with the 200mg of Topamax.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Chels82 – I am really wondering about your topiramate experience with the side effects. You see, itis vitally important that to lessen side effects, that we v.e.r.y gradually increase dosage. Going up so very fast may have been what triggered your reaction… Something that may have been minimized or even eliminated if raised appropriately.

    Neuro tin does seem to help some patients.. I had minimal effects from it, but found the side effects too severe to continue, though I did use it for a couple of years.

    Good luck with your new trial, and do write to let us knownhowthings are going for you…

    ~Ellen

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  • By Chelsea

    Ellen,

    The doctor did taper me up and down again so it’s not like I went from 50mg to 200mg and back down again.

    Did you have weird smells with Neurontin? I thought something had died in my house and went on a cleaning binge, unable to find the culprit. My dad, who is a pharmacist, said that odor issues can be a side-effect.

    I’m finding that if a medication has a weird side effect, I will have it. I guess it’s a small price to pay for no migraines but ugh, what a pain.

    Thanks,
    Chelsea

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  • By merrie

    So, went to see my old Dr to discuss alternatives to fioricet in the interim between now and when I go to see the specialist sometime in October hopefully. ( I saw the old Dr, not the one I had recently switched to who I did not like at all). We are trying indomethacin as a acute treatment, as I have had good results from torodol at the er. I am also trying nadalol again as a migraine preventative, bc it is the only one I had good results from. I had to stop it before because it was only effective at the maximum dose, and made my bp and pulse too low. I told him I would rather be dizzy and pass out than have a migraine every day. He wants me to try for a month and if the migraines are still out of control he wants me to have another mri. I guess some of my standard Neuro tests were off …mostly the balance ones. He was very for me going to see the specialist in Boston, and said he would be happy to be my maine Dr and follow the recommendations of the headache specialist in Boston. So even though I currently have a migraine, at least I have a plan.
    Merrie

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  • By Chris Hicks

    Merrie,

    Having a plan and things to try are great! It is so important to keep hope alive and well while struggling with the migraines.

    I hope you get in with the specialist sooner rather than later and I hope, in the interim, that the meds help you get the migraines under control.

    These things sure are destructive when they “get out of the box”. I know, I am having a pretty bad go of it these last few weeks!

    Take Care,
    Chris

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  • By Chris Hicks

    So speaking of the migraines being out of the box… My neurologist, via electronic communication, has suggested that I try another medication to break the current “cycle” I am in with the migraines. I have already tried Migranal and Imitrex, not together, no no. Neither of these has broken what is going on currently.

    The suggestion is 10 mg of Thorazine every hour for up to five hours per day. I guess the idea is to put me into a coma. I am reluctant to follow this course as it would undoubtedly mean more time lost from work and I quite simply cannot afford to lose/miss any more time.

    What is my alternative? I either endure and work or I follow the neuro’s advice and miss a couple of days of work.

    This too shall pass (repeat, repeat, repeat…).

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  • By merrie

    Thorazine is a strong med, I would be nervous about taking it. Has anyone tried indomethacin for their migraines? I took one about two hours ago, and so far not working unless you count the stomach cramps that is.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi merrie,

    I gave you some information on indomethacin in your other post, but don’t forget it can take up to three months before we see a reduction in migraine frequency and severity. Watch the stomach!

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  • By Chris Hicks

    Nancy, that’s my question too. The Thorazine induced coma doesn’t sound great to me. I have a question in to my neuro asking if we can go with a steroid pack. It seems like it might be a better route.

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  • By merrie

    Hi Nancy,
    I am to use the indomethacin as a rescue med, and take as needed for migraine. So in that case shouldn’t it work or not work right away? I am taking nadalol as my preventative. I have to try to take my bp every day while on it bc I already have low bp. I tried the indomethacin today and did not notice anything other than my stomach cramping all afternoon. The migraine e is still with me. If the indomethacin doesn’t work for me my Dr wants me to try tramadol, which I have taken before for endometriosis pain and it doesn’t work for that, but never tried for migraines.

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  • By CM

    I’m curious about people who have a high number of failed medications.

    I’ve had chronic daily migraines for the last 10 years or so. I’ve tried a TON of different medications. Admittedly, many didn’t get a real (read: 3 month) trial because the side effects were so bad that I couldn’t stand them for more than a week or two.
    I’m struggling with finding a rescue or abortive medication that I can take and still be functional. I have complicated migraines and I’ve been told I can’t take triptans, and I’m guessing that rules out ergotamines as well. I’m in nursing school right now, and I’m getting to the point where missing classes just isn’t something I can do, so I need to be able to take something and get through the day.

    So I went to my last neurology appointment and I spelled out what I need in a rescue med–something that doesn’t make me high, something that works fairly quickly, something that I can take and still work in the hospital–and she prescribes me Fioricet. Well…Fioricet is a barbiturate, so I couldn’t take it in the hospital, it likely will make me feel high, and while it works quickly it wouldn’t actually stop a migraine, and it’s addictive. This medication is literally the opposite of everything I need, and I don’t understand how I got here. It’s like the neurologist didn’t listen to me at all.

    For people who have failed a lot of medications, are there rescue medications you have found that work?

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  • By Chris Hicks

    CM, currently I am working my way through failed rescue medications.

    My last two “attempts”, prescribed by my neurologist, were Migranal and Thorazine (not together). The Migranal did mask the migraine while I was taking the 3-day burst (1 spray in each nostril every 8 hours). As soon as I stopped the Migranal the migraine was right back with me, in full force. The Thorazine made me extremely tired and sleepy (1-10mg tablet every hour up to five tablets in one day). Yesterday was a day that I tried the Thorazine and, again, it masked the migraine and made me so tired I literally could not stay awake. This morning at 3am I awoke and the migraine was not ony back, but was worse than last night!

    I have a question out to my neuro right now, asking her if there is anything she can do to break this cycle of pain.

    So, my answer to your query, right now, is that I do not have any rescue medications that are effective for me. I hope that changes soon!!!

    Take Care,
    Chris

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  • By b7itzz

    I’m new to the website. I’m a 35 years old graphic/web designer. The first time I had a migraine was when I was 18 years old. I used to take excedrin (capsule) to help alleviate the pain. Since that was discontinued, I resorted to the regular excedrin tablet and excedrin for migraine. They both worked for a while, but now it won’t work for my headaches. I’ve been getting migraines 2-3 days in a row. Any recommendation on medication? Possibly something that will not badly damage my liver in the long run.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    jamilcaudang – We can’t suggest medicines for you here, because what is appropriate for one patient, could be dangerous for another who might have different health issues.

    That said, it sounds like you may qualify as a patient who might want to consider preventive therapy for your Migraines. Here is some information:

    Overview: https://migraine.com/pro/preventative-treatment-for-migraine-overview-and-approach/

    AAN Recommendations https://migraine.com/blog/new-migraine-prevention-recommendations-from-the-american-academy-of-neurology/

    ~Ellen

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  • By RNSCARE

    My headache specialist at Mayo Clinic has prescribed several meds which I’m supposed to limit to 2-3 days/week but even then if I take them long term can make my pain worse. Can anyone shed light on why this might be? The ones I’m referring to are: Naratriptan 2.5mg, Isometh/Apap/Dichlor, Cambia 50mg. So now I’m afraid to take them even though I need them. I have a final on Monday for nursing school and struggling to study. I’m a newly diagnosed Chronic Migraine sufferer trying to control this unrelenting daily pain. Thank you for any help you can pass my way.

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  • By Merat

    I am 41 female on Beta-Blocker as preventative and BOTOX every 3months.
    I was dealing with 12 consecutive days of migraines. I took Imitrex to relieve the pain but the migraine was back within 24 hrs. At this point I know it was just rebound migraines caused by Imitrex itself. To break the cycle my neurologist (Dr. William Preston in SoCA) prescribed a Steroid pack for 6 days and it WORKED . It broke the cycle and i have been migraine free for the past 3 days (3 days pain free is a LOT for me).

    I had tried Topomax before and it didn’t work It made me groggy and stupid. My neurologist just prescribed GRALISE as a preventative. Has anyone tried this and was there any major side effects worth sharing?

    Thank you

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  • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

    Merat,
    I have previously been on Gralise, more commonly know as Gabapentin. I don’t really remember having any specific side effects. It is originally an anti-seizure and anti-convulsant drug that is being used off-label for Migraine prevention.

    In one randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 143 patients, patients receiving gabapentin were over 4 times more likely to achieve a ≥50% reduction in migraine frequency versus placebo.

    Here’s an article that discusses gabapentin and some other preventative options:
    https://migraine.com/pro/preventive-treatment-for-migraine-pharmacologic-options/

    And I’m glad the steroid pack worked for you!
    -Katie
    Migraine.com Moderator

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