Reader’s Mail: Post-Meningitis Headaches May Need Further Evaluation

Q. My daughter, who is 15 years old, had viral meningitis in August, and although the meningitis is gone, she continues to have daily headaches. The doctors continue to contribute these headaches to the meningitis and say it will take time. The pediatric neurologist just wants to continue medicating her, which is not really helping her. The doctor does not want her to take Advil or Tylenol due to the chance of rebound headaches. She is on Elavil, 37.5mg daily, and Fiorinal for pain. The narcotics make her sleep 12 hours but do nothing for pain.

I do not know what else to do for her. We went to the emergency room two weeks ago with severe pain. The ER doctors put her on an IV of Toradol, Reglan and Benadryl, which after several hours did alleviate the pain. Is there any research regarding post-meningitis headaches and treatments, and is there anything else that can be causing these headaches, or is it truly a migraine? Continue Reading


Sharing My Headache Story with NHF – Carrie

I have been having headaches since I was in my early 20’s and I am now 51. So, you can tell I have been going through this for a while. I have been on various medications, both preventive and abortive. They range from Fiorinal, Topamax, Aleve, Imitrex, Excedrin Migraine, Neurontin, Treximet, DHE 45 injections, and hormone replacement therapy.

Currently, I am trying out a new machine that pumps cold or hot water into a mask and doing relaxation exercises. I struggle because most of the symptoms are managed, but there is no specific “cure” for me. Other things complicate my case because I have a mood disorder and am trying to reduce my stress. My daughter is 11 and struggles with ADHD and a chronic anemia problem. I have had a gynecologist, a neurologist, and two headache specialists, but I keep on trying because life is too short to let pain get in the way.


Fiorinal and Fioricet

Fiorinal and Fioricet are medicines for tension-type headaches. Fiorinal contains aspirin and Fioricet contains acetaminophen. They both contain butalbital and caffeine. Codeine is sometimes also added to this combination. Butalbital, a barbiturate sedative, is habit-forming.

These medications should not be used on a daily basis because dependency on them can develop. Regular use, more than 2 days per week, can cause rebound headache, which may not respond to usually effective acute and preventive treatments.

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