migraine meds that work for you

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concernedgirl
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/22/2006 7:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm looking for a better migraine medicine for my boyfriend. He said he's tried a lot of things over the years, can't remember what exactly. He's been taking Maxil for several years before he met me. It's the only thing so far he's found to help his migraines stop. He says it does the job of stopping them mostly every time. The thing is that he gets  migraines every 4 or 5 days and when he takes Maxil he's loopy and tired so he can't drive anywhere obviously. I was wondering if there was any new meds that anyone could recommend that wouldn't make you tired and possibly make them less frequent to like maybe once or twice a month? I've never personally had migraines but I see how miserable he is when he has one and I was just wondering if I could recommend something new to him to try so he didn't have to suffer with them every single week.

Mandalynn210
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 12/22/2006 10:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,

Its nice of you to be concerned for your boyfriend... very sweet :)

Personally, I love my Imitrex. Thats the first thing they put me on. I first tried the oral and all I need is 50mg. Sometimes, when its really strong I need 100mg, but most of the time the 50 will do it. It can run about $9 a pill... which can get kind of expensive. So I get the 100mg and cut them. This can be kind of tricky since they are triangle shaped but I've got it down now.

Also, when I take one, I have to take it early on enough and only when its on my dominant side (which happens to be my left... if I have a migraine on my right side, I'm pretty much screwed and need to go to the hospital and/or its going to be a long few days) So when I take it, I HAVE to lay down in a dark room and either focus on the tv or close my eyes. Sleeping usually isn't the best thing for me, but thats me. If I can concentrate on happy thoughts/getting rid of the migraine or focus on forgetting it it'll go away in 30 minutes of less with the Imitrex.

The side effects aren't bad at all... I get a tight feeling in my throat, hot-flashes (no I'm only 20 years old haha) and only a LITTLE bit of fatigue. Thats about it. No loopiness whatsoever. I'm ready to go on with my day. Numerous times I woke up with a migraine, took Imitrex, relaxed and ended up going into work or to class at noon... totally fine.

Now, lately, Imitrex hasn't been working for me EVERY time, but again, thats just me. I've started a preventative and it sounds like your boyfriend may need that. I'm not trying to be a doc here but as often as he has them, his days may be much more enjoyable. I was having them at least 3 times a week. Sounds like his pattern is pretty bad and if he's going to be on this loopy drug or have a migraine all the time, he might as well get on a preventative, in my opinion. Thats that conclusion I came to with myself.

I hope he gets to feeling better. I'll let you know that Imitrex offers a nasal spray, which doesn't work for me at all, and tastes AWEFUL when dripping down your throat (ew) which also, in turn, doesn't let me relax when I would use it and may have been why it didn't work... AND also offers a shot you give yourself. Ouch. Those may be other routes he could take. There are also many different preventatives if he chooses that route. I'm on Topamax and so far so good.... I was scared at first but thats how I found this site, in looking for information on the drug. I love this place!

If you have anymore questions feel free, everyone here is sooo helpful!

Take care, Happy Holidays!!!

Mandy


concernedgirl
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/23/2006 1:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you very much. Actually I think he's told me he does take something every night as a preventative, but I'm not sure what. He's better off then some people I've been reading about. So far this week he hasn't had one in five days which is unusual cause usually by the fourth day he has one. So we'll see if it lasts. Mandy...you said you used to get them three times a week, now have you noticed an improvement in the frequency that you get them since taking Imitrex and Topamax? How often do you get migraines now? Anyone else too...how often do you get migraines, what med do you take, and how much has it helped you in making your migraines not as frequent?

Annuk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 12/23/2006 3:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi concernedgirl,

Welcome to Healing Well. I think it is wonderful that you want to support you boyfriend like this. I am sorry that he has to suffer like this too.

Try to find out what he takes at night for his migraines as it seems that it is not doing it's job properly. Personally, up until recently I have used Imitrex injections with great success in aborting the attacks. The down side of that for me is that for at least one hour after the injection I feel too drowsy to be safe to drive. But on the other hand if I had ot had the injection I would not be driving anywhere anyway!!

A lot of migraine drugs can make you feel a little drowsy for a while and caution with driving should be taken. But with determination this can be worked around and with some small changes in lifestyle this need not be too much of a problem!

My attacks are between 1 and 5 per week, my situation is not a good one to go by at the moment as my current medication is under review! My best advice is to encourage your boyfriend to see his Doc again and review his medication to see if it may need changing in order for him to receive the optimum benefit! What works for one person may not work for another!

I wish you both all the best, please let us know how your boyfriend gets on, take care

Ann

Mandalynn210
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 12/23/2006 1:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello again,

Well, I've only been on Topamax for a week and a half... but I went without a migraine for a week and the one I did get was during "that time of the month". So I'm going to go for it and say that they have cut back. At the time I was only on 25mg and have now bumped up to 50 and been feeling the same. They will put me up to 75 then we'll see what happens from there. I don't want to be on a preventative but since the Imitrex stopped working all the time, it became a good idea.

Also, Ann... I feel for you! Ouch... 5 times a week. I think out of the 10 years I've had migraines I've only had 3 or 4 weeks where I've had a migraine 5 days out of the week. That is terrible.

She is right, encourage him to see his Doc about the preventative he is currently taking... whether he needs a new one or not? Either way, again, its nice of you to be so kind to take the time to ask about his migraines.

She's right as well about the lifestyle changes... keeping a diary (I know...) can help you become aware of the triggers for a migraine. Alcohol, cigarettes, aspartame, chocolate, other foods and drinks can be factors in migraines coming on for your boyfriend.

How old are you guys anyway? (If I may ask...) I'm pretty young and finding these things out early on is helping out really well considering I don't want to suffer for the rest of my life... it ain't pretty.

Happy Holidays!

Mandy


concernedgirl
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/23/2006 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
My boyfriend is 26 and he's been having migraines since he was in 7th grade. He never had them as a kid thankfully. I found out he takes Anitriptaleen at night (don't know if I spelled that right but thats how it sounds). He promised me he'd ask his doctor next time he goes in when he's sick. I guess I'll recommend Imitrex and Topamax to ask about since you both seem to recommend those. If anyone else has a suggestion too, please let me know. I have a question...those two meds can taken together? Topamax is the preventative you take every night and Imitrex is what you take when the migraine comes on, correct?

Annuk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 12/23/2006 5:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi concernedgirl,

Yes, you are right, Topamax is a preventative and Imitrex is taken to abort an attack. Please remember that only two doses of Imitrex - or any triptan for that matter can be taken in any 24 hour period!

The drug your boyfriend takes now is called Amitriptyline which is an SSRI Anti-depressant that is often taken for migraine and other painful conditions as it has a pain numbing effect in some people! Again this is taken as a preventative.

I don't mean to worry you but I would suggest that your boyfriend discuss with his Doctor something that has been discovered recently with Amitriptyline and Imitrex as it can cause 'Serotonin Syndrome', which can be dangerous!!

I think it is lovely that you are supporting him so well, he is very fortunate to have you!

take care

Ann

CRANKY 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 12/23/2006 6:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey concernedgirl,

 
Welcome to the boards.  You need to know exactly what medications and what dosages your boyfriend takes, before we can get you more personal information.  I checked on Maxil, and couldn't find a listing for it.  Could it be Maxalt or Paxil?  They are two very different medications, and they do two entirely different things.
 
Please let us know the details so we can give you some information.
 
Leigh Ann cool

"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett


Denda
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 329
   Posted 12/23/2006 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi ConcernedGirl -
I have been on Topamax for about 3 weeks now. I'm supposed to take 100mg/day, but am only taking 50mg right now and that seems to be keeping the headaches away for now. My dr seems to think I will have to bump the dosage up in a couple weeks, but states we can wait and see. I'm not a regular migrainer, however I get them about once a month, but I had an eeg a month ago which showed signs of minor seizure activity. This helps for that also. I was having issues with feeling really dopey on it for the first week, but I'm doing much better now. With each increase in the dosage, I found it hard for the first week to get used to it, but then it was fine. I also have the Maxalt, which is a Godsend. I have needed it twice before I was on the Topamax and was able to stop a migraine within about a 1/2 hour, it was awesome. The only side effects that I have noticed with the Topamax have been tingling in the fingers and toes (but this also may be something else I have going on), decrease sexual urge, decrease appetite, but again this could just be me. The meds are working great for me at the moment, I guess time will tell.

Good luck with everything you are trying to do for your boyfriend.

concernedgirl
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/23/2006 9:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much for your info and support. If Amitriptyline and Imitrex can cause Serotonin Syndrome, he'll definately need another kind of preventative if his doctor says he can take Imitrex. It is Maxalt that he is taking at the moment Cranky1 but I don't know the dosages. The only thing is that he's a little reluctant to change off the maxalt cause he's tryed lots of things before that apparently didn't work and Maxalt works for him he says in about hour and a half, three hours at the most. He feels like he's in the clouds on maxalt, which he evidently likes the feeling but he's all loopy most of the day then if he takes that so it's kinda rough planning to go somewhere cause he's going to be tired from that stuff. He keeps telling me there are people alot worse off then him, but the way I see it is that if there's some new meds out there that can reduce the frequency from every week to like once or twice a month, it's worth looking in to something new rather then live that way the rest of his life. Does Imitrex make you tired and loopy?I'd recommend the topamax to him, but the only thing that worries me about it is the bad side effects everyone has been posting about. I just don't want him trying something new thats going to make him feel miserable when he starts using it. Are there any preventatives that don't have side effects? Also is there anyone here who's had or knows someone that had weekly migraines and after taking med reduced them to like once a month?

Annuk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 12/24/2006 2:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi concernedgirl,

Just to let you know that Maxalt is a triptan! If Maxalt makes hime feel tired etc Imitrex may do the same thing, but remember these drugs have a different effect on everyone!

Please make sure he discusses with his Doctor fully any changes in his meds. You are doing a terrific job here!!!

take care

Ann

concernedgirl
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/25/2006 6:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much. I will post back when he finally gets to the doctor.

Mandalynn210
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 12/25/2006 7:03 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello again!

I can take Topamax and Imitrex together just fine... haven't had any bad side effects whatsoever. Although I did finally experience the tingling in my fingers today for the first time in taking the same dose for almost a week now. The only thing is the cognitive one, I could NOT think of the words "fuel tank" and yesterday I was showing off the purse my boyfriend bought me for Christmas and instead of saying the button on the flap over the top was magnetic... I said it was metallic... :)

I'm interesting on Topamax, and I'm only on 50mg. I do believe I will have to be bumped up to 100mg a day and stay there since I ended up having a migraine... but that may have been hormonal. I couldn't tell the difference now for almost 3 years now that I've been having them at least once a week... and here in the past 6 months 3 times a week. It was weird to finally be reminded that I DO have hormonal migraines again.

Also, wanted to let you guys know I AM quitting smoking since that doesn't EVER help at all... not even to be around people that do it. Its hard, but I can do without it. Easy. I had a drink on Saturday at Christmas and couldn't even finish a cigarette. I think thats another Topamax side-effect... makes them taste icky. Which is good since my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer 4 months ago. She's the one with the migraines too. Also adding that she said hers have decreased (she's 74) since quitting smoking. And I'm positive she's stressed with the chemo and other meds.

So anyway, don't worry about Topamax. You can always stop it! If he hates it, he can get off of it and stop it. I was told to take Amitryptaline (I can't spell it either) and then I even read some bad stuff about it too. I'm sticking with the Topamax. Honestly, I thought the side-effects would be WAY worse, so far I've only experienced (from greatest to least)

-Taste change of soda... its bearable but not yummy at all
-Thirsty all the time... make sure if he gets on it to drink lots of water (good thing it makes me thirsty) because it CAN cause kidney stones
-Cognitive (duhhhh stuff)
-Fatigue PLUS
-Insomnia later on in the night (that passes in a couple days of upping dose)
-Diarrhea (verryy little)
-Nausea (verryy little)
-Loss of Appetite (slim)
-Tingling (only the once today)

And remember none of these are BAD... Though the cognitive is at the top, I'm not used to not being able to think of stuff. Its not to the point where people don't want to talk to me :)
I'm also trying to stay away from alcohol because it can make the fatigue caused by the Topamax have a worse effect. It is also keeping me from smoking and having even more migraines along with it.
 
I hope I helped you... I was scared to try Topamax but I'm really liking it so far. I JUST started it. I will be starting on my 3rd week this Wednesday so I'll keep you updated as I go along. :)

Mandy


concernedgirl
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/26/2006 3:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for your input. Yes please let me know how it works out for you. Since I have to wait till my boyfriend gets sick before he'll even go to the doctor, I have plenty of time to look around and explore options. So keep me posted.

dee37
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 25
   Posted 12/26/2006 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mandy, I'm glad the Topamax is working for you so far. I've been taking Topamax along with Imitrex also for about 2 years. Even after being on Topamax for awhile now, I still can't think of the right words to say every now and again. For example, I keep calling the dishwasher the washing machine. My husband got used to it, now sometimes it's like a game. Lets try and figure out what she wants to say. :)

I've had alot of the side effects you have been having. Hate soda now. You know about some of the stomach issues, which have been better, had some tingling in my hands and feet too but that went away. The only thing is I wish it made cigarettes taste bad for me, but it didn't. It would be alot easier to quit that way. Best of luck with that, not an easy thing to do. Keep me posted.

Dee

CRANKY 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 616
   Posted 12/27/2006 1:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Mandalynn210,
 
I hate to rain on your parade, but PLEASE don't ever tell someone not to worry about a medication.
 
"So anyway, don't worry about Topamax."
 
You are not a licensed physician or pharmacist, and you have no idea how a particular medication will affect any person.  It is perfectly fine to explain your experience with your meds & dosages.  That is what YOU KNOWIT ONLY APPLIES TO YOU.  Other people on this board are looking for information, answers to help with their migraine attacks.  You cannot tell them what to take, much less what not to worry about.  And as I recall your post, you've only been on TOPAMAX for THREE WEEKS, and "I'm only on 50mg."
 
I personally had a horrible experience taking TOPAMAX.  The first thing you should know about this medication is that you should titrate(increase/decrease your dosage) very slowly, to avoid the more serious side effects, usually 25mg at a time.  By the time I got up to 200mg, I was still not receiving any benefit from the medication, but I was a mess with side effects.  I was referred to a neurologist, who suggested I move to 400mg.  He doesn't recommend this dosage to his regular patients, but I was a difficult case.  I've had migraine attacks since age 8, thirty-three years of misery.  They get worse the older I get.  On TOPAMAX, I was a blithering idiot.  I lost a great deal of my metal faculties.  I couldn't carry on a conversation, got words all mixed up, couldn't remember the name of simple objects.  I also couldn't remember simple directions, I couldn't drive because I couldn't remember how to get to places I've gone all my life. I couldn't even make posts on this board.
 
And just for general information, none of the triptans work for me, including MAXALT, and I'd rather have a migraine that to take IMITREX.
 
I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though I've titrated completely off TOPAMAX, more than six months ago, I still have lingering problems. Last Christmas, while I was on the TOPAMAX, I was pretty incoherent.  I only remember opening one present, and that my steak was overcooked.  The rest is a blank.  Please don't advocate a medication, when you have so little experience, and without recommending consulting with a physician first.
 
We all want is to help each other, we just need to be careful how we do it.  Best wishes, and let us know how you are doing.
 
Leigh Ann cool

"The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful."
                                             - Jimmy Buffett


TMarie
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 190
   Posted 12/27/2006 8:21 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi there, I'm a fellow Migraine sufferer with loads of experience on different types of prophylactic (preventative) and abortive medications.  My current regime is Topamax (150mg twice a day) and  Verapamil (also known as Calan @ 80mg a day).  I am also on Cymbalta and some other powerful pain medications for Occipital Neuralgia (the nerves that are compressed/angry cause nasty Migraines upwards of 10-30/month untreated). 

Before being diagnosed with the Occipital Neuralgia I experienced Migraines on a regular basis, approximately 2 per month.

Over the years I've tried: Amitriptaline (Elavil), Paxil, Inderal, Midrin, Maxalt, Imitrex, Zomig,  Fioricet, Celexa, Zoloft, Indocin, Phenergan suppositories, Demerol, Darvocet, Percocet, High doses of Motrin, caffeine; you name it--I have been on it!  Unfortunately I am now allergic to Imitrex, Zomig and Maxalt...basically all of the Triptans; they make my tongue, mouth, throat, face and airway swell so badly it sends me into Anaphylactic shock.  (not fun)

With my current Topamax/Verapamil my Migraines are greatly reduced.  I did have a very difficult time adjusting to the Topamax; I was a blithering idiot!  The neurologist I was referred to started me out at an outrageously high dose of 50mg per day for 3 days then jumped me up to 100mg immediately thereafter (I had been experiencing Status-Migraine for 35 days) along with a steroid pack. 

After two weeks on the 100mg he told me to jump up to 150mg twice a day!  But when I couldn't recall my childrens' names I stayed at the 100mg and upped the dose 25mg at a time AS I FELT I COULD HANDLE IT.  During the initial uptake I was not myself at all, I lost a good 2 months of my life just adjusting to the Topamax because of that stupid Neurologist!  I noticed the "tinglies" would only come on if I hadn't drank enough water throughout the day so I started carrying sport bottles of water with me wherever I went (and still do).  This also ensures the kidneys can process the Topamax okay (Topamax is not processed through the liver like most medications; it goes through your kidneys HENSE the risk of kidney stones=Why you must increase your fluid intake!)

The Topamax has another side-effect for some people...weight loss.  In fact, some doctors prescribe it for patients for "vanity dieting" believe it or not!  (I cannot imagine going through the side effects just to lose weight, never!)  But, I did go from a tight size 14 to a size 6 in eight months (an average of 1.8lb weightloss per week).  I did not lose my appetite, the Topamax just does something in your brains' eating center to tell you not to over-eat and when enough is enough (in my case).

I'm not sure if my information has helped any...please feel free to ask any questions.  I do have a medical background also. 

I hope your boyfriend can find medicines that work for him concerned...take care of him!


~*~*~Tash~*~*~
 
 


concernedgirl
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 12/29/2006 10:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Ok, now I'm a little scared to even mention Topamax to him after reading some of the things it does to you to get adjusted to it. I'm not sure it would be worth it. Maybe I'll just tell him about Imitrex for now. Can someone recommend any other kind of preventative other than the Amitriptylene he already takes and Topamax?

kymark
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 1/2/2007 8:31 AM (GMT -6)   
DON"T be scared away from considering Topamax because some people have had bad side effects. While I'm certainly sorry Cranky 1 has had such a terrible time with the drug, remember that those people suffering from side effects are more likely to complain about them than those people not suffering! Topamax is one of the most effective preventative medications for migraines and other chronic headaches to come along in years. That said, everyone experiences its side effects differently at different dosage levels, and it only makes sense to build your dosage up slowly as you adjust to the drug and its effects, both positive and negative. Most people adjust to and overcome the negative side effects. I had few side effects at most dosages, but hit a plateau at which I had very unpleasant reactions for a month until I dropped my dosage back down. For some of us, unfortunately, the positive effects can wear off over time as well, which I'm afraid is happening to me with Topamax, although I still think it's had more benefit than most anything else I've tried in nearly 20 years of daily headaches (daily chronic tension-type, not migraines).

My best recommendation for your boyfriend is not a specific medication, but finding a headache specialist. I went through many doctors, including several neurologists, before a headache specialist (who is also a neurologist) moved to town. It's a totally different experience having an appointment with her -- she just gets it when I talk to her, and she actually listens to what I'm saying! The specialist is the person who can and should be recommending what medications an individual patient should be trying (and in what combination). But almost as important is having a medical professional who actually understands what we're going through. I'm actually looking forward to my next appointment with her tomorrow, when we'll try yet another set of meds.

Mark
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