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Medications & Prescription Treatment

Sumatriptan not working?

  • By sool

    Hi,

    My migraine attacks started about a year ago. First, I had a few attacks a month lasting 4-6 hours, but gradually the attacks became more frequent (occurring every week) and started to last a whole day.

    My doctor prescribed sumatriptans for me, which seemed to work the first few times, taking the whole migraine away (the headaches didn’t even start, since I took them right away when I noticed the aura symptoms). But now, after taking the medicine, it doesn’t take the whole migraine away, but just mildly mitigates it. Furthermore, after a couple of hours, the medicine seems to wear off, and the migraine is back with its full power. Taking the medicine a second time after the migraine has come back fully seems to have no effect either.

    Has this happened to anyone, and what course of action would you recommend me to take?

    Thank you very much for your help.

    PS. I don’t think that the headache that returns is a medication overuse headache, because I have only taken sumatriptan 8 times in total.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi sool,

    Thank you so much for your question and being part of the Migraine.com discussion forum! Let me see what information I can give you that may help.

    Medication overuse headache, moh, can be tricky. For some susceptible people, myself included, moh can occur by taking migraine medications and/or pain relievers (whether they are over-the-counter or prescription) just two days a week. So, if you take 2 days of sumatriptan per week, you may be in an moh cycle. One of the hallmark symptoms of moh is when we seem to need more and more medication. If you haven’t seen this information on moh, take a look when you get a chance; https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/.

    By any chance do you know any of your migraine triggers are? If we can identify and manage our triggers, we may be able to reduce our attack frequency and severity. Migraine triggers include, but are not limited to certain foods, changes in the barometric pressure, sounds, odors, lights, dehydration, skipping meals, irregular sleeping patterns and many others. If we can identify and manage our triggers, we may be able to reduce our attack frequency and severity. The best way to do this is by keeping a detailed migraine diary. Here is information on keeping a migraine diary; https://migraine.com/blog/keeping-migraine-diary-basics/.

    If we have four or more severe attacks a month, it’s time to discuss migraine prevention with our doctor. Migraine prevention is different from taking triptans. Triptans or abortives are taken to stop migraine attacks. Migraine prevention medication is taken on a daily basis to help prevent attacks. Here is information on migraine prevention; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-preventives-start/.

    I hope that helps!
    Nancy

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