has anyone tried valproic acid?

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pink01
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 3/17/2008 4:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm just wondering if anyone here has tried that as a prevention? I haven't really heard of until my doctor just mentioned it. I am just switching from Topamax to Valproic acid. Well let me know! thanks!

korbnep
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 327
   Posted 3/18/2008 2:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there pink,

Looks like no one has responded to your question yet so I'd be glad to share my experience. I've taken valproic acid (also know as Depakote and Divalproex) at least a few times in the past, with mixed efficacy. Just as Topamax was first used as an anti-seizure medication, valproic acid (and the sodium valproate that is commonly mixed with it) has a primary indication for controlling bipolar disorder, though it is now also used for epileptic problems, neuropathy and migraine.

Though their mechanisms of action are much different, Topamax and Valproic Acid are used very similarly in headache patients, most commonly as a daily preventative for patients with chronic migraines.

Now, some more practical information tongue

I don't know exactly how you responded to Topamax (though if you're changing medications, chances are that it either isn't helping enough or has too harsh of side effects), but, as you may know, it is well known for it's "mind stupefying" effect--causing cloudiness of though, word retrieval problems, low energy, depression, and much more. Of course, some people do just fine on it, though I did not. Luckily, you're likely to find that the side effects of Valproic Acid are less daunting. Of course, this too varies very much from patient to patient, but I, personally, only had problems with somnolence (sleepiness) and the mind numbing effects of the Topamax quickly faded (I made the same transition the first time I tried it). I have two relatives that have been taking Depakote for a good while now and they find it very effective, though they both have found that, at higher doses, it can slow their minds much like Topamax can--this led my mother to find an in-between dose, as we all often have to do--one that is high enough to help one's head, but low enough to not have too nasty side effects.

Unfortunately, this is not quite how I personally reacted, though I have usually been treated as the "exception" to the normal situation. When I transitioned from Topamax to Depakote, I was initially very optimistic about it because I found that my mind was so much clearer and I was getting about as much relief with it as I was with the Topamax (which, unfortunately, was not very much relief at all, but, although I have not had any real success with ANY migraine-related medication, being on something is much better than being on nothing at all). While my mind was still far from 100% acuity (though, who knows how much of this comes from the drugs and how much from the pain), I didn't notice the mind numbing that my family has spoken of, even though I was on a much higher dose than they are now. However, despite the fair amount that the drug helped my headaches, it turned out not to be enough to warrant not trying something different which might have actually worked better, as I was trying desperately to resume college, work, and a semblance of a social life. Also, although the side effects of the Depakote were much easier to deal with than those from Topamax, in some ways they were more disabling as I developed the unrelenting pattern of sleeping 15-18 hours a night, now matter what time I got to bed or the level of activity that I got.

Anyway, that's just my personal experience of the first time that I was administered the drug. I wouldn't take my failure with it too much to heart as 1) I've tried every drug/treatment that multiple clinics have offered without any success and 2) I have never heard of anyone else reacting to Depakote even remotely in the same way that I did. It's looked at as a very promising medication and a potent weapon in a headache specialist's arsenal. So give it a shot and I wish you the best!

Ben

P.S. The other times that I have taken valproic acid were during hospital visits in which my neurologist attempted to use it acutely to relieve the pain I was experiencing right then.
DX: NDPH, Recovered CRPS
RX: Lamictal, Provigil, Clonazepam, Ambien CR, Emsam, Namenda, Oxycontin, Oxycodone
PRN: Haloperidol, Zyprexa, Lodine, Zofran, Skelaxin


pink01
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 3/18/2008 4:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much!! That was very helpful.

I did get the numbness from topamax- but I never really felt like it affected my mind. Except I did feel really "high" the first week or two, but it wore off for me. The reason I quit topamax was because it wasn't working at the dose I was on and my doctor had me up the dose, but it was just giving me unbreable stomach cramps, so hopefully that doesn't happen with valproic acid. It doesn't sound like it would but you never know I guess.

Yea I'm just trying to get through college with these migraines, they are always getting me so behind in school! But also I'm 21 and I just want to go out and drink on occasion too, but trying all these medicines is making that impossible!!

korbnep
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 327
   Posted 3/18/2008 7:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey again,

I can very much relate to the way that you feel, especially at that age. The first year or two that I was in college I drank a fair amount, though it steadily decreased as time went on. It's a killer how much fun and socialization chronic migraines can take out of your life and how isolated they can make you--with trouble staying out late or low energy all day or friends feeling uncomfortable around you...

Strictly in terms of drinking, I've found that what I can do and what I cannot do depend on both what medication I'm taking and how I feel (including whether alcohol will make me feel worse, which has varied throughout the years that I've had migraines). The latter is usually the bigger factor I think. Now, I haven't drank in nearly a year, at all, because it makes me feel like crap. But when the drinking didn't make things worse (even if I already felt crappy), I still drank even when I was on medications that specifically said not to drink, including vicodin, methadone, emsam, etc. As my neurologist has agreed and as you'll find in the fine print of the prescription information, in most cases the drugs you take do not actually "interact" directly with alcohol, but they amplify the Central Nervous System (CNS) depression that alcohol causes. Essentially this can mean that 1 drink will totally floor you, while you might be able to take 5 while not on the drugs you're on now, or you might be more or less sensitive than that. If you do drink while on these medications you just need to do so slowly and carefully, clearly establishing the lower amount that you can handle and not reaching a dangerous level. I'm not encouraging you to violate what the drug labels will tell you, but, in case you don't already know, you likely can drink some amount, carefully. Initially I was too intimated by the warnings not to (which is good!) but I very carefully found out what I could do on different meds and on different days even.

Anyway, best wishes. I know how hard it is to have chronic pain at that age (not that I'm even that much older).

Ben
DX: NDPH, Recovered CRPS
RX: Lamictal, Provigil, Clonazepam, Ambien CR, Emsam, Namenda, Oxycontin, Oxycodone
PRN: Haloperidol, Zyprexa, Lodine, Zofran, Skelaxin


pink01
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 3/19/2008 11:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Yea, I guess I just have to test my grounds with this new one. I wasn't able to drink at all on Topamax, one drink and i was soo tired and a few more would just knock me out. I was able to drink just fine on my previous medicine though.
And I do feel like all these medicines make me so tired, that I can't stay out late like you said.
Well thank you so much for all that!! I hope this valproic acid works out!
but it sounds so similar to topamax who knows. Also, i heard they give anti-seizure medicines to alcoholics to help them cut back. So I probably can't drink much on valproic acid, we'll find out I guess.

Post Edited (pink01) : 3/19/2008 12:34:01 PM (GMT-6)


korbnep
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 327
   Posted 3/19/2008 4:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Honestly, only one way to tell...Just be careful (as I've said about a dozen times now).

One quick bit though. You can see essentially what I'm taking daily now in my signiture (things have changed a bit since I last updated it, but I haven't bothered). Other than the oxycontin and oxycodone, it's not the heaviest regiment. As I mentioned, I don't drink now, largely because of what you described--tiredness, though I also feel a little sick to my stomach and if my headache's already worse than normal, forget about it. But about two years ago, during my...um...senior year, I was taking really high doses of Zonegran (a lot like Topamax), Indocin, Abilify, Methergine, Mexilitine, Wellbutrin and who remembers what else. I often had trouble walking up and down stairs and I recall not remembering how to spell my name on a test or two. But I actually went to happy hour once or twice a week with friends. Wouldn't drink a ton: usually I'd split a pitcher with two other light drinkers or two bottles of wine between us at home or so. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are a lot of factors that can affect these things aside from the typical potency of the drug. So don't get down before you even start with valproic acid. Hopefully you'll do just fine.

Ben
DX: NDPH, Recovered CRPS
RX: Lamictal, Provigil, Clonazepam, Ambien CR, Emsam, Namenda, Oxycontin, Oxycodone
PRN: Haloperidol, Zyprexa, Lodine, Zofran, Skelaxin

Post Edited (korbnep) : 3/19/2008 4:47:06 PM (GMT-6)


sheryl=jk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 4083
   Posted 3/21/2008 10:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been on Topamax for nerves, 100mg a day, didnt effect meone way or the other as far as drinking.
I havent personally taken depakote, but but both my children have, with no help with migraines, hence my son is now on topamax, he does fine with it, not real side effects. daughter doing ok, no bad headaches, and a tyelnol seems to do the trick for her for now. Like Ben said we are all different, got to find your safe ground and what you can handle, but give yourself time to adjust to the depakote first before having too much alcohol, you want to know how your gonna react to the depakote first, then test your waters with the alcohol. Sometime in small quanties I find alchol itslef will help my migraines, if not I will take imitrex and it helps abort it. I will be getting back on the topamax once it goes generic sometime this summer, it really helped me with both neuropathy and preventing headaches.   But we are all so different, I really hope your transition to depakote works for you......... smurf ...........
.......Love.....Sheryl
Fibro-05
Interstial Cystitis-06  implanted Interstim-06 hysterectomy & IBS-06
Arthiritus-04 Depression-04
GERDS/ Hiatial hernia -07   Anxiety-07
Gastroparesis-08
Reglan,Protonix,Prozac,Effexsor, Erthomyicin, klonipin, occasional phernergan
Im marrried w/2 children, one with mild autism and Bipolar, she takes Abilify, Buspar, Celexa
MY son is bipolarw/migraines, he takes Risperdal,Topamax,150mg Zantac-acid reflux, Metformin- weight loss.
....God Bless...and have a Great Day!!...


CompGirl
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 3/21/2008 12:14 PM (GMT -6)   

I have tried Depakote for prevention as well.  At the time I started on it it was the only thing working as a preventative.  Unfortunately as time went on it became less effective, story of my life.  The only side effect I had was a slight hand trmmor which was hardly noticable.  When I had to change doctors they did not put me back on it but switched me to a new preventative.  I am almost ready to ask to try the Depakote again as it has been the most successfull the longest.

 

As for drinking I can not drink at all.  Always triggers a migraine.  The last time I had even a small amount (a mamosa at my sister's wedding) I had a migraine within the hour.  Good thing I do not like to drink much.  It is hard though not being able to do something.  Seems that when we can't have something we want it all the more -- I MISS CHOCOLATE!!!

 

Good luck.

 

 


sheryl=jk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 4083
   Posted 3/21/2008 1:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Chocolate wont give me a headache, but it give me a stomach ache skull
Excema, hypermobile...
Fibro-05
Interstial Cystitis-06  implanted Interstim-06 hysterectomy & IBS-06
Arthiritus-04 Depression-04
GERDS/ Hiatial hernia -07   Anxiety-07
Gastroparesis-08
Reglan,Protonix,Prozac,Effexsor, Erthomyicin, klonipin, occasional phernergan
Im marrried w/2 children, one with mild autism and Bipolar(8), she takes Abilify, Buspar, Celexa
MY son(13) is bipolarw/migraines, he takes ,Topamax,150mg Zantac-acid reflux,
....God Bless...and have a Great Day!!..........Love.....Sheryl


pink01
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 3/21/2008 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm so glad chocolate doesn't give me headaches, i'm so sorry. The only alcohol that gives me migraines is wine.
Like you were saying, compgirl, I took propranolol and topamax which I felt worked for awhile, but then just stopped working after awhile. I hope this doesn't happen with valproic acid as well.

thanks everyone for all the help!!

sheryl=jk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 4083
   Posted 3/21/2008 2:25 PM (GMT -6)   
WHat is propranolol???? confused
Wine gives me headaches too, not vodka though,
but the wine will soothe my stomach, go figure? eyes
.......... smurf .........
Excema, hypermobile...
Fibro-05
Interstial Cystitis-06  implanted Interstim-06 hysterectomy & IBS-06
Arthiritus-04 Depression-04
GERDS/ Hiatial hernia -07   Anxiety-07
Gastroparesis-08
Reglan,Protonix,Prozac,Effexsor, Erthomyicin, klonipin, occasional phernergan
Im marrried w/2 children, one with mild autism and Bipolar(8), she takes Abilify, Buspar, Celexa
MY son(13) is bipolarw/migraines, he takes ,Topamax,150mg Zantac-acid reflux,
....God Bless...and have a Great Day!!..........Love.....Sheryl


pink01
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 3/21/2008 3:05 PM (GMT -6)   
propranolol or inderal is for high blood pressure, but it's prescribed it for migraines too.

sheryl=jk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 4083
   Posted 3/21/2008 4:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you, I had never heard of it.... smurf ....
Excema, hypermobile...
Fibro-05
Interstial Cystitis-06  implanted Interstim-06 hysterectomy & IBS-06
Arthiritus-04 Depression-04
GERDS/ Hiatial hernia -07   Anxiety-07
Gastroparesis-08
Reglan,Protonix,Prozac,Effexsor, Erthomyicin, klonipin, occasional phernergan
Im marrried w/2 children, one with mild autism and Bipolar(8), she takes Abilify, Buspar, Celexa
MY son(13) is bipolarw/migraines, he takes ,Topamax,150mg Zantac-acid reflux,
....God Bless...and have a Great Day!!..........Love.....Sheryl

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