Sharing My Headache Story with NHF – Wayne

I’m 75 year old disabled Veteran and I started having headaches in 1957 while in my early 20’s. They tended to come in “clusters of migraine.” Sometimes I had enough of a warning to head them off. In my case, the warnings came in the form of a throbbing in my temple or a sort of “tunnel vision,” which provided me with an opportunity to take medication to ease the oncoming headache. Continue Reading


Bellergal-S is a preventive medication that contains ergotamine. The amount of ergot contained is less than medications used to abort attacks (Ercaf®, Cafergot®). When taken on a daily basis, patients should be monitored by a physician.

Side effects can include drowsiness, blurred vision, and dryness of the mouth. Bellergal-S should not be used by pregnant women or people with glaucoma, high blood pressure, coronary, liver, kidney, or circulation problems, or in those with a high temperature. Triptans or ergot-containing acute medications should not be used while taking Bellergal.

Bellergal is no longer available. Generic formulations of the same combination are available, however.

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen treatment of headaches was first mentioned in literature in 1939. Mr. Charles E. Rhein, Linde Air Products Co., reported to Dr. Alvarez at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN the successful treatment of severe “migraine” attacks by breathing pure oxygen. Subsequently, Dr. Alvarez noted that the treatment with 100 percent oxygen at a flow of six to eight liters a minute would often produce relief. Sometimes patients would not be able to obtain relief with this treatment, whereas at other times they would. In 1940, Dr. Alvarez reported the treatment of over 100 persons suffering from headache attacks. They were treated with oxygen with a nasal type of mask and a flow of six to eight liters a minute. He found that 80 percent of “migrainous” headaches were completely or significantly relieved. Dr. Alvarez also found that patients with other types of headaches were often helped through the use of oxygen inhalation and that the prompt institution of therapy had a better chance of resulting in relief than if it was delayed. This work was much less rigorous than that done recently. Continue Reading


3M Pharmaceuticals has ceased production of Medihaler® Ergotamine (ergotamine tartrate) due to unresolved problems with the raw materials that make up this drug. Continue Reading


Cafergot is a brand name of the combination of ergotamine and caffeine. It is currently available only in the suppository form for the acute treatment of migraine attacks. There are generic oral tablets with the same amounts of caffeine and ergotamine as were in the former Cafergot tablets. Ergotamine works for migraine by constricting blood vessels and effecting brain receptors such as serotonin. Continue Reading