Press Kits - Migraine Medication Causing More Harm Than Good?

Some classes of medications used to treat migraines can lead to more frequent headaches through medication overuse or debilitating side effects such as drowsiness, nausea confusion and forgetfulness. The questions below are provided as a guide to help you determine if you are experiencing side effects from your medication, medication overuse headaches, or loss of productivity stemming from your current medication. Please answer the following “yes” or “no” questions.

1. Have your headaches increased since receiving a new prescription?

 Yes  No

2. Are your headaches getting worse, even though you take prescribed medications?

 Yes  No

3. Do you take prescribed migraine medication to treat attacks three days a week or more?

 Yes  No

4. Are you experiencing prolonged, unrelenting headaches with other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting?

 Yes  No

5. Under the supervision of a doctor, are you able to stop using your prescribed pain medication?

 Yes  No

6. Do you experience three or more headaches (a tension-like headache associated with medication overuse) a week?

 Yes  No

7. Do you take a pain reliever for your headaches every day or almost every day?
 Yes  No

8. Do you need more than the recommended dose of over-the-counter pain remedies to relieve headaches?

 Yes  No

9. Do you take combination pain relievers containing barbiturates to treat migraine attacks more than three times a week?

 Yes  No

10. Do you take pain relievers containing narcotics to treat migraine attacks twice a week or more?

 Yes  No

11. Do you experience any of the following symptoms when you try to reduce the frequency with which you take medication to treat a migraine attack:

  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

     Yes  No

12. Are you taking high doses of drugs that contain opiates or butalbital?

 Yes  No

13. Do you experience any of the following when taking opioids/narcotics to treat a migraine attack (examples of opioids include Tylenol® with codeine or vicodin):

  • Nausea
  • Drowsines
  • Euphoria
  • Constipation
  • Flushed or warm skin
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Itching
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slow, shallow breathing

     Yes  No

14. Do you experience any of the following when taking opioids/narcotics to treat a migraine attack: 

  • Sluggishness
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Poor memory
  • Slowness of speech and comprehension
  • Faulty judgment
  • Disinhibition of sexual and aggressive impulses
  • Decreased attention
  • Emotional Instablility
  • Exaggeration of basic personality traits
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • “Hangover'' effect

     Yes  No

15. When you take opioids/narcotics for the treatment of migraine, do you frequently miss work and/or other professional or social activities?

 Yes  No

16. When you take opioids/narcotics for the treatment of migraine , do you frequently find yourself less productive at work or during other professional activities?

 Yes  No

17. When you take opioids/narcotics for the treatment of migraine, do you frequently find yourself less productive at work or during other professional activities?

 Yes  No

18. When you take opioids/narcotics for the treatment of migraine, are you frequently prevented from performing regular household activities?

 Yes  No

19. When you take opioids/narcotics for the treatment of migraine, are you frequently prevented from spending time with friends and family?

 Yes  No

Total “YES” answers _____

Total “NO” answers _____

Please discuss the results of this test with your physician or healthcare provider to determine if you may be experiencing medication overuse headaches, side effects or lost productivity associated with overuse of your medication. Your prescribing physician or other healthcare professional will be able to identify the most appropriate options for treating your migraines.

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