Reader’s Mail: Medication and Time May Both Help Migraine and Cluster Headaches

Q. I have been reading NHF’s HeadWise for a few years now and find it very informative and helpful. I wish I didn’t need the information, but I have been diagnosed with cluster migraines. True to pattern, I can go two to three years without migraines except for two to three migraines per month occurring prior to my period. The clusters occur two to three times a day for a few months then remit for a couple of years. After every cluster, I always hope it will be my last time.

Are they ever going to stop? Does a person outgrow them? I am currently taking amitriptyline daily, Imitrex® as needed and have just started Topamax® as a preventive when a cycle strikes. Continue Reading

Reader’s Mail: Complex Problem May Require Change and Reduction of Medications

Q. I have been on Depakote® and amitriptyline for migraines since about 1996. I kept the headaches reasonably under control (I’ve had them since 1985) with those two preventive medications and lifestyle management (strict diet, regular exercise, enough sleep and decreasing stress). I do, however, have moderately severe arthritis of the neck from a car accident in the 1970s.

For the past year, I have had a migraine every day except four intermittent days; I can’t figure out what I could be doing wrong. I avoid rebound headaches by alternating my use of Norgesic Forte® with Tylenol 500®, or when necessary, Imitrex® or Amerge®. I’m careful not to take more than the prescribed amount of any medication. My question is this: Would Neurontin® be of help to me? Has Depakote ceased to be effective? Or could the arthritis in my neck have finally won the battle I’ve been having with it? My neck pain is excruciating at the end of a work day, especially if I’ve had a headache. Neck pain is one of the precursors to a migraine for me. Continue Reading

Sharing My Headache Story with NHF – Synder

I’ve had my headaches as long as I can remember and I am now 70. About 25 years ago, I went to a headache clinic at the University of Utah, where they diagnosed me with multiple headache syndrome, (vascular, Cluster, Migraine, and Classic Migraine) but about that time they came out with Imitrex, and the VA was able to use injections for me. Although my legs would get so sore from the shots, they got rid of the headaches and I was glad when they came out with the pills. Between the VA in Salt Lake City, Utah and the VA in Seattle, WA, as well as the University of Utah, the various physicians and healthcare professionals tried everything that was available in order to help me from getting the headaches, but nothing ever worked for very long.

I think that some of the medications would stop me from getting one type of headache, but then I would just get another type of headache. I get nine pills of 100mg Imitrex from the VA and I cut them in half, I use to get about five headaches a week, but now I’m getting more, and I’ve gone sometimes, three or four weeks with a headache every day. Then all of a sudden I’ll go seven to 10 days without one. I currently reside in Yuma, AZ, where I’m able to get Imitrex in Mexico for a ridiculously low fee, but at least I don’t run out of Imitrex.

Sharing My Headache Story with NHF – Sandi

I am 62-years old and have had chronic migraine since at least 7-years old, although they could have begun before that time. 62 years ago no one paid attention to a child with headaches except to give me aspirin, Excedrin, etc. I lived on these pills for most of my childhood, adolescent, & early adult life, and likely adding to the headache problem, which changed the migraine to transformed, and then to rebound headaches. On a scale of 1-10, I would describe them as 100. A good week would be only two migraines, but many times, there are many more. I learned to tough it out, and somehow managed getting through high school, getting married, and having three children. Continue Reading