Posted 11/6/2011 6:05 PM (GMT -6)
Hi. I'm a life-long basilar migraineur, now 51. I've tried a wide variety of drugs, including Depakote, Verapamil, Klonopin, etc. as well as feverfew, magnesium, and vitex supplements, and had no luck preventing migraines, and had terrible side-effects from the prescription meds as well.
I'm about to sound like an infomercial, but I swear this is the truth (and I'm not on anybody's payroll)! I started on 150 mg daily of Butterbur, and it's helped immensely! I still have a lot of my bad habits that promote stress, and am still exposed to the same triggers (fragrances, a disordered startle response, hearing sensitivity, etc.), but it's as if my brain is issuing a spark, but the migraine isn't nearly as likely to "catch fire." I'm just not going into the excruciating headaches and bouts of sensory ultrasensitivity like I used to. Holy socks! This is after YEARS of trying everything under the sun. I'll post some links below to more info.
Butterbur in its raw state contains a set of alkaloids compounds, "pyrrolizidine alkaloids," also called "PAs." You want to make sure, if you try Butterbur, that you use an extract that has had the PAs removed. They're nasty subsances and can cause liver problems and cancer with repeated use. Research from Germany and Switzerland, expecially, however, shows that the extract form is safe and at least as effective as Topamax or other common migraine prophylactic meds. Butterbur is used in Canada for migraine treatment as part of the national medical program.
I've read a couple of reports that some people can go into rebound headaches after about a year on butterbur, as is possible with any medication. I'm planning on taking a "drug vacation" twice a year for one month, where I don't take any supplements or medications at all (I'm not on anything that I have to take daily.) Apparently this is good for your liver functions and also is a way to guage whether or not a particular supplement is still necessary.
Best of luck, and don't let the [deleted] migraines get you down!