Thursday, September 17, 2009

Migraine Experiment Continues

Since 2004, I had had maybe four to six migraines per year. They are not that bad, lots of sparkly lights, bad headache, difficulty speaking for about an hour, waste of a day. From what I have heard, that is not too bad.

But during chemo, yikes! That number has jumped. (I have gotten a migraine on both of the last two days.) So my primary care physician gave me a selection of migraine drug samples to see whether we could find one where I can stay upright and functional instead of having to go to sleep.

All of these drugs work different for different people, so the point is to find one that works for me.

Excedrin Migraine: This is what I have always taken at the first sign of blank spots. I basically rush home and go to sleep for a few hours to escape the pain, but then I am okay.

Treximet: I remember that I was not really impressed; it did not seem to be any better than Excedrin. I definitely went to sleep, but I am not sure if I tried to stay awake. Might be a good idea to try Treximet once more and take notes.

Relpax: Got rid of the sparkly lights very fast, but about 45 minutes into the headache, my head HURT a lot and I was actually nauseated. (Months of chemo, and it takes this migraine to nauseate me!) Almost exactly two hours into the headache, the sparkly lights came back. So I ended up in bed after all.

Frova: The sparkly lights lasted an extra long time and made it impossible to see anything. I never could have driven the car like that. However, for a few hours, I felt pretty good, minor headache only, able to watch TV. But five hours later, the entire headache came back. Sparkly lights followed by lots of pain. I took a second pill. I ended up in bed to escape the pain. Then later I was groggy. 

Immitrex: The sparkly lights were very short lived. The headache pain was moderate. I could not read. It was best if I went to sleep. I could not have stayed at work through the migraine.

Maxalt: The sparkly lights lasted for the usual 20 minutes, but then no headache followed! I was almost perectly fine. I had a MINOR headache (more like a hint of a headache). I definitely could have stayed at work! Fantastic! No wonder this stuff is so expensive. (Updated June 2010)


omerandpat said...

We're knocking for ya.
I really want to thank (I can't remember who but I will find the comment and thank her) for calling my attention to the "Top Health Blogger" award.
Love ya

Robyn said...

Hi Karen,

Regarding the migrane testing, there is the little used therapy called the Ball Peen Hammer Trick. I can't imagine why people only use it as a last resort!?! It seems that after one treatment, most people do not return for repeat administrations. Hmmmm....I wonder why...

Seriously, haven't checked in on you in a bit. I have been thinking of you. Dan said last weekend he talked with you and of course sees you more than I.

Sending my love and best wishes and am terribly sorry that you are suffering so much with these headaces... Wish I could kiss it and make it better!

carol said...

Wow, your headaches sound awful. I use Imitrex for my migraines. Did your doctor suggest it. It may take as much as 100-150mg because yours sound pretty intense. It usually works within 20 min. for me. Try putting an ice pack on your head as well as taking medicine and laying down.
So glad you woke up feeling great today. Carol

Yanni Smith said...

Hi Karen,

Just trying to catch up with your blog and landed on this post. I, too, experience major increase on my migraine during my treatment and experiment on various meds, but the one that work for me the best is Topamaxx. Ask you doctor if you can get a sample and try it on.

The drug really works wonder for me!

Stay strong,
Lots of love,