Advice needed for migraines please

Hi. I hope someone can assist me with my battle against headaches and migraines. I have tried Amitriptyline but unforuntately it made me so tired I could barely function. My dr swapped me onto propranlol 80mg daily. That didnt have much effect so it was increased to 160mg daily. Whilst that appeared to help somewhat, i still got daily headaches but the main problem was insomnia. I am now weaning off the propranlol as i can't function with virtually no sleep every night. I have reduced the dose back down to 80mg with a view to coming off completely over the next few weeks. Already, after a week my headaches are back to being horrendous :-( so clearly the higher dose was working. What are my alternatives now? I cannot function with the exhaustion caused by amitriptyline, but the same goes for insomnia caused by propranlol. has anyone come across this problem before? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

21 Replies

  • Sounds horrible for you. If beta blockers work for you then how about trying a different one eg Bisoprolol which has less side effects? Or Timolol?..(not sure about the side effects.)

  • thank you . i will certainly mention that next time i am at the dr.

  • Hi. There is nothing worse than a migraine and not sleeping. Sorry to hear that's what you have been suffering. Amitriptyline doesn't suit everyone but if you could give it another go you will certainly sleep well. I gave up on Amitriptyline the first time I was put on it but after trying lots of other meds that didn't work I went back on it, a really low dose to start with and increase it VERY slowly so your body has time to adjust to it. It could take weeks but if you can increase it like I did to 50 mg daily 3 hours before bedtime it could work miracles like it did for me! If while increasing the dose if you get side effects lower the dose again and then try increasing again. Migraine treatments are all about what suits you but hope my experience might help!

  • Penny15

    Did you gain weight on Amitriptyline?

  • yes i think so - either with that or the propranlol. I have definitely put weight on :-(

  • My nephew suffered migraines for over 30 years until the doctor put him on beta blockers ! He has never had a migraine since !

  • Hi,

    I take propranlol, 40 mg in the morning and 40 mg after dinner. So far, no insomnia. I have the same frequency of migraines, but they are much milder and they can disappear with the triptan. I also take ibuprofen with the triptan. I reacted the same way to amitriptalyne, I slept for 10 to 12 hours a day and still had migraines.

  • Hi, I started having Daily migraines three years ago due to perimenopause 😡My hormones are wild, I guess! Anyhow, I am in Calgary, Canada and had to wait 14 months to see a neurologist at the migraine clinic. Just couldn't do that as Icwiuld have gone away to nothing. With the headaches, I was in bed all day basically, living on soda crackers and mineral water. Lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks. So my Famiky doctor tried some preventative medication to see if they would help...After 3 months of trial and error, like amytriptiline by itself (10 mg), propranolol by itself ( 10 mg); we found out that the combination of both of them worked!!! I take 20 mg. propranolol in morning and 10 mg amytriptyline in evening. I am a small person, your dosages might have to be slightly higher, but for me it's perfect! It has been working for over 2 years and 1/2 now. I am amazed that you were prescribed such a high dosage of propranolol (didn't you get very low blood pressure with a strong dose like that?) MyFamily doctor said that if it was going to work, it didn't have to be an extreme dose. Maybe you can try the cocktail of taking the two together like me. I hope it works for you, as well as it is for me! Good luck, as I feel your pain.

  • thanks for your replies. i have never had my blood pressure checked :-( I had a really bad time yesterday and took sumitriptan and ibuprofen.... took a few hours to clear but things eased by the afternoon.

  • The secret with Sumatriptan is take it as soon as a migraine starts and I also take paracetamol or ibuprofen with it too. Seems to work better

  • Another medication from that group of meds to try would be Candesartan it has much less side effects but had good results for some people. My headache doctor suggested this to me.

  • Thank you so much for all your replies. its good to know that I am not suffering alone and that so many people have similar problems.

  • Oh not! You're not alone. I have migraine 24/7. I go to bed with migraine I wake up overnight many times to try to move my head and neck but nothing looks to work. When I'm very desperateI take Sumatriptan. Sometime it take the pain away for few hours but after I feel seek for the sides effects. For the neurologist I be prescribed Amtryptiline.I tried half tablet of 10mg my migraine was more strong and I was like zombie. Maybe the problem is because I'm allergic to many medications.

  • I too have used those meds with the higher dose of propanolol rendering me like a zombie.

    I then tried alternative therapies like massage and acupuncture,expensive and helped very little.

    Now taking magnesium tabs and hoping for results.

    Feverfew is another alternative.

    Its a case of suck it and see as what works for one doesn't for another.

    Good luck...

  • Hi I'm on amtriptyline 20mg at night best taken at night as it helps with sleep def helps I don't get tiredness tg ... I take magnesium 600mg daily this is supposed to relax the muscles in my neck which seems to b the root cause of my type of migraine ,hope this helps u get through this agonising time ... best of luck

  • I know that I tried the same meds and it was horrible. I weaned off by taking .5 Xanax which got me through withdraws quickly and restored my sleep. I know people hate Xanax, but it has done more than just weaned me off it stopped my headaches in it's track. Just a thought but I know some don't like Xanax. I never take over .5 Magnesium is also a God send!

  • I was on propranlol and that didn't work for me at all...another doctor put me on Sumatriptan and it works. It doesn't prevent them. But it makes them go away..if you haven't tried them. I would recommend you do..after decades of migraines and trying different things. This is the only thing that's worked for me xx

  • Hi sorry for late reply I too suffer from headaches migraines on a daily basis I have tried many different options like neurologist has just prescribed candesartan at 4mg tapering up to 16mg over a four month period ..I am also on nortriptylinr 50mg daily..I am now on day 10of taking these meds together and I can see a huge improvement down to about a 2 and I can function and go to work which was a huge challenge beforehand .I hope this helps somebody else

  • just an update - i have been on the reduced propranlol and my headaches have been much better - to the point where I havent had any painkillers for over a week now. my sleep is also better - at least when I wake up I go back to sleep. Does this sound like the lower dose is now better for me?

    Why would it appear to work now but didnt initally when i took it?

  • If sleeps a serious problem before going on these drugs, then you may have an attached sleep disorder like restless leg,( for that you need Sinemet). Amtriptyline effects the blood & heart, so will make you more tired & breathless. If your migraines are episodic or mild then Triptans are good. If they are not & frequent you need a preventative. Beta blockers & old seizure meds are the way to go. Seizure meds cause serous cognitive problems though. A beta blocker you could try is: Candesartan.

    Rest, drink lots of water & avoid all stimulants.

    Good luck!

  • I have to tell you I had migraines my whole life nothing help I went on Amitriptyline 10 mg for almost 2 yrs trying to ween off but I also have maxalt witch works any way we all know the story but I have found a solution for me and it may help someone I started putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in my coffee that’s is the only thing I have changed I read it helps with migraines so why not well I have been doing this for about 6 months and I have had 1 migraine and it was little not even a headache in the day it can’t hurt to try it I swear by it

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