My neurologist has suggested that I might try Flunarizine. Has anyone had experience of this drug? Did it work? What is it's success rate?

Topamax (topirimate) did not suit me. I found the side effects to be very unpleasant (frequent nausea, loss of appetite with consequent loss of weight and depression). Furthermore, it had no effect whatsoever on my headaches. Consequently, I'm hesitant about taking Flunarizine.

My next step is to submit to Greater Occipital Nerve block injections at the end of August......

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  • I tried flunarizine . Essentially your neurologist should give you strict parameters for each drug of what is and what isn't an acceptable side effect. Sent me bonkers - but doesn't mean it'll do the same for you. I am ok on topiramate and candesartan . The latter I think has made a huge difference to me although I have never been hypertensive . I just increased the dose very slowly .

    I have been on a therapeutic level now for a couple of months. I live a careful life but am getting glimpses of my old self back. Great after nearly 2 years .

    There are other alternatives such as the vagal nerve stimulators . This certainly helps for acute attacks . The flunarizine is quite widely used in children I understand . And in the " European " community . I was told to watch for weight gain . But that was NOT the side effect that got me!

    Good luck !

  • What WAS the side effect that got you? Is that an OK question? ;-)

  • Going bonkers!

  • I should clarify. I felt very agititated. I could not not sleep. I needed to sort the house out in the middle of night . I was snapping at everyone includindingvmy very elderly parents who had been nothing but supportive. I felt as if I wanted to get out if my body from the inside .. The feeling went away within a few days of stopping the medication . I had a week clear and then restarted and after a few days the insomnia and agitation returned so I decided it wasn't for me. Much better now tho . Topiramate , candesartan , botox and gentle exercise.

  • Hi - what dose of candesartan were you on initially please? My son has been started on 4mg daily plus the ongoing flunarizine, just wondered how and when the candesartan dose may be increased?

    Thank you.

  • I do feel for you; I've been there too: there's a standard list of prophylactics for migraine neurologists all work thorogh but I've never met anyone for whom the benefits outweighed the side-effects. Topiramate controlled my pain but gave me kidney stones and ruined my memory. The problem is that there's nothing which really addresses the problem: Flunarizine and the various anti-epileptic and anti-depressant drugs are very crude in their operation. Doctors feel duty bound to work through the list even though your life is being wasted in six month trials of drugs they know are unlikely to help. Prescribing pills is easier than challenging patients to change their life-styles so doctors just write another prescription. It rarely helps. I have had surgery and a nerve stimulator fitted and six courses of Botox so far. I don't think they've helped me nearly as much as what's described below.

    There probably is no cure for frequent daily headache, all one can do is manage it. There are positive things which definitely help and may make the difference between a decent life and a very bleak one.

    The biggest challenge is to stop all painkillers: most chronic sufferers are suffering rebound headaches as much as migraine headaches. The only painkillers which are not addictive are Naproxsyn types and that can cause stomach problems if you take too much. Ideally stop taking any painkillers, especially Triptans, and live with the pain: it won't last as long as if you take painkillers but it will still be distressing and inconvenient. But the headaches won't last as long or be as intense once you get the painkillers out of your system. It takes about a fortnight.

    The other thing that helps most people is a very strict but wonderfully tasty diet: absolutely NO dairy products, very little sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine in any form, NO wheat products or anything like sausages and bacon which are full of nasty additives which trigger headaches, no curries or anything with chilli in it, no chocolate. A diet of fresh (unprocessed) fish and chicken, lots of fresh fruit (not citrus) and fresh vegetables and drinking lots of water will make your body feel much happier generally and may well relieve most of your headaches. You'll certainly never want to go back to junk food. Try it for a month, keeping a diary of exactly what you eat and exactly how much pain you get.

    Gentle exercise is important: at least twenty minutes' walking every day. Gentle yoga exercises will teach your body to relax when the pain is bad: we often make it worse by the way our muscles tense and respond to pain.

    Finally, mindfulness offers a practical way of dealing with the anxiety and depression caused by chronic pain. The pain will still be there but you'll handle it differently.

    Changing lifestyle and diet is hard work which is why doctors haven't the time to even discuss it. But if you are a life-long sufferer, it really up to you to take control. There's no fix in a bottle and doctors admit they have no real idea what causes migraine: it's a genetic weakness which makes people very sensitive to their environment. Food and weather affect us more than most people.

    I still get bad headaches quite often but since radically changing my diet a year ago and stopping all pain killers, life is considerably more enjoyable and I have many more pain free days.

    Why not give it a try? You've nothing to lose but an unhappy body. There are certainly no unpleasant side effects- though if you're like me, you'll probably need to buy new trousers as you shed that unsightly fat.

  • I appreciate that there is no cure for migraine; that it's a case of good management. I've tried withdrawing from all medication in the past and have also left all kinds of supposed migraine triggers out of my diet; all to no avail. Coming off medication didn't reduce the number of my headaches; it just extended their length! I have to admit, though, that reducing my intake of sumatriptan to a minimum has left me feeling between attacks.

    Having suffered from migraines for about 65 years with the condition getting worse since I retired, I'm determined to try anything that will help to improve the quality of the remainder of my retirement. At the moment, I think I'm experiencing some improvement as a result of twice-day 20 minute transcendental meditations - although I'm not aware of every transcending!! I've tried Mindfulness and I'm sorry to say that it didn't help at all.

    Thanks anyway for your advice and support.

  • Hello. I'm new here but I wanted to say I got my first migraine in 6th grade. I'm 63 now and have progressed to daily after a forced move to a thunderstorm filled area. I have taken all but one new medicine. The side effects worse then the migraine. I've withdrawn off of all pain Meds. It made no change other then being able to restart at a lower dose. Was given a drug that's a nasal spray called STADOL, I beg all of you do refuse this extremely addictive drug. I was the first person that the University of Nebraska (USA) pain center had seen. They told me they didn't know how to get me off. REALLY?! The uneducated group asked for my meds which I gladly gave them because this med requries you use more and more for relief. You can't taper yourself off you go into Withdrawels they now know can cause stroke or death going cold turkey. I begged my husband to kill me it was that bad. I ended up in the ICU section of their hospital. I then was requried by my ins company to do their pain program or they would drop me. I have many serious health issues so to be told be here at 7a.m. get down on a mat, then ride a bike, treadmill followed by stairs. That was before lunch. Then it was off to 45 mins in a 90' pool to exercise another 45mins!

    I was then told to ice my neck damaged in a rear end accident at age 12. I left early often because all of this put me in their ER room 2 out of 4 days. They released me on the 4th day of a 10 day program.

    I know this, it's taken my whole life to find something that helps some. Morphine extended release daily, add in immediate release for unbearable breakthrough pain along with shots I do for nausea. What I've learned is yes there is no way to take pain Meds freq and not have your BODY become addicted to getting that medicine! But I tell you this I don't crave this med in my mind and I never feel drugged unless I've used PHENERGHAN for extreme nausea. I think we need to be wise in and when to add additional Meds and try to deal with a migraine that might have a pain level of 5 on just our daily meds. I would welcome that level right now since I'm on a 11 day migraine from the weather.

    I use BOTOX my first try, tens unit, many different programs for meditation/self hypnosis. You must do them several times a week to get relief.

    I also do massage which can slow them down. I have major spinal issues that can trigger me if I'm too active.

    Have you or anyone else been given THC (pot) in a trial or its legal where you live? Was there any relief from pain or nausea? Could you get any sleep? That helps me a lot but hard to achieve due to my pain.

    Do other family members suffer? All women on my mothers side suffer and my daddy got clusters.

    Do you suffer from other types of migraine such as facial?

    Do you find it hard to find pain management?

    I'm sorry my first time on this site. I should have posted as an independent post not a reply. I will review how to use the site. Take care may a good day be in your near future everyone. Thank you

  • I've been on flunarizine for three years now and it's changed my life. I didn't get on well with topiramate, and the other preventatives I tried didn't work. I've not had any noticeable side effects, and what I love the most about it is that it doesn't affect my cognitive abilities at all. When I first started it I had 2-3 48hr migraines a week, and now I am down to one 24hr one every 6-8 weeks, and headaches about once a week. In between those episodes my head is almost completely clear. I was sceptical before I tried flunarizine as a last ditch effort, but now I am ever so pleased I gave it a chance.

  • Thanks for your comments. You've given me some encouragement. I was preparing to tell my neurologist that I was not prepared to try Flunarizine but your success gives me a little more hope. If I can get down to your frequency of headaches, my life would be transformed!

  • Good luck with it, I hope it works as well for you as it has for me.

  • Hope it works for you too, my neurologist has just started me on sodium valproate and cutting down on Pregabalin as this seems to make no difference to the daily headaches and still getting migraines in between, so far migraines seem worse but I will persevere for a while at least, next on the list is the flunarazine so you will have to let me know how you get on if that's ok. Sumatriptan helps when I get a bad attack but I really don't like taking meds every day, don't like the sound of changing my diet but I will give anything a go at this stage. Good luck.

  • My son (aged 30) has tried Topiremate, Pregabalin, Sodium valproate, Botox, vagus stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, occipital nerve injections, and Cefaly - none of which made any difference to his NDPH of the chronic migraine variety which he has had since age 22.

    He has been taking Flunarizine for 18 months and this is the first medication which has made any difference - his average daily pain score has reduced from 6 in January 2014 to 1.4 in December 2014 - this has made a HUGE difference to his life and he is gradually becoming more like the son I knew!

    3 months ago he was started on Candesartan 4mg daily as well, this seems to have further improved the pain scores, as prior to this the average was 2.5.

    I hope the Flunarizine also helps you - I know it was stories like this that helped my son to persevere, as the Flunarizine did not immediately make much difference, just a VERY gradual reduction in pain score averages month by month until the 1 year mark when it was down to average of 2.5.

  • PS we were also extremely sceptical as to whether the flunarizine would work, and my son really was extremely depressed and on the verge of giving up - keep trying as there are new meds becoming available all the time - CRGP was the next med we were going to try. I am so hopeful that you too can find something that helps you, as this is a terribly disheartening condition for both the patient and their friends / family - partly I think because few people really understand how very debilitating it can be.

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