Drugs for migraines

Hi all!

I know it's not really the place for this, but just wondered if anyone can help me. I was given clonidine for hot flushes and migraines a few years ago. I also take naratriptan when I have a migraine starting. I get them pretty frequently. I have just seen the GP for a prescription review and she has given me a prescription for beta blockers (propranolol) I still get migraines quite often. I have read up a bit about propranolol and am a bit wary of taking it. Side effects seem a bit scary. Also the GP didn't tell me I shouldn't take the clonidine and the propranolol together, I read that on the Internet and have had it confirmed by the pharmacist. Am I being paranoid? If anyone has any hints of what may work for migraines, I would be grateful. I have tried pizotifen and immigran, Neither really worked. I am sure it's hormone-related, even though my ovaries and all other bits went in my hysterectomy nearly ten years ago when i had OC. I still get hot flushes and a strange adrenaline-like feeling just before I get a migraine, and they seem to be worse every two weeks, which was as they were when I was ovulating and having periods. Bloody hormones! :-(

8 Replies

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  • Hello Wendy,

    Sorry to hear about your migraines (I was so lucky; mine stopped after surgery and treatment for ov. ca. - one of the positives for me).

    There is useful information online about this ie: migrainetrust.org/factsheet...

    I would try agnus castus. It is a powerful hormone regulator in those for whom it works, it takes up to 3 weeks of treatment before you will know. I would also be very wary of the drugs you have been prescribed, especially as the GP did not advise you of the interactions. It shows that they are guessing rather than treating from knowledge. Propranolol can seriously upset your sleep patterns also. I used to work with many people during the 80s who had been put on it as the latest 'wonder' drug - often for anxiety. It often worsened the situation. I would imagine that your GP is trying this in response to your 'adrenaline-like' rush before the attacks.

    Can you consult an experienced herbalist?

    Very best wishes,

    Isadora xx

  • Thanks, Isadora. How are things with you? Many thanks for your reply.

    My gut instinct was that I should be wary of beta-blockers. I read up on the side effects and they sounded pretty scary. I will definitely seek out some Angus castus and look on the migraine trust website. Thanks for that. The only time in my life, since I was twelve, that I have not had migraines was when I had implants, following my surgery, which contained testosterone. I felt so well with those, but, like everything else, they had side effects ( didn't develop a low voice and chest hair ;-) only thinning hair) but the docs said I should move away from the testosterone and I wanted to try to manage without HRT anyway. So I really think it is a hormonal thing and I am not an anxious sort of person, except when there is a good cause to be, so I don't want to take anti-anxiety drugs. Before you know where you are, they will be giving me more drugs for the side effects of those ....so it goes on :-o

    Love Wendy xx

  • Hi! Wendy, I haven't blogged for a while but still read them all & felt i wanted to reply to you. My Dr. prescribes ZOMIG 2.5mg for my migraines since my 1st cancer in 1997. They work for me but don't know how they would work for anyone else. It's a little tablet that you put on your tongue (tastes of oranges) & it melts within seconds. I can get relief within 20/30 minutes. A new one came out ZOMIG RAPID 2.5MG a while ago & I was changed to that one as the 1st one was taking longer to work. I am getting much longer spells now between my migraines, can go sometimes 2/3 months then could have a spell of 2/3 days but they certainly work for me. Dr only gives me a pack of 6 on a monthly basis & it comes with a small flat container which holds 2 tablets, for your handbag. I have them in most handbags now if I decide to change what I'm wearing for the day the tablets are already in my handbag. I sincerely hope you get your migraines sorted out as they can be very draining on the system.

    Cancer is back again in March for the 3rd time, had another scan last Tuesday & get results this Wednesday so keep your fingers crossed for me.

    Hugs for everyone & never, ever give up.

    Iris

  • Hi Wendy,

    I've just tried to use the campsite Wi Fi and found I actually can send at the moment - hooray!!

    I must sympathise with you over your Migraines, especially as you still get them when others find they improve once they've passed the Menopause, if they're hormone related. What a b***er!!

    My husband was prescribed Propranolol for his awful headaches a few years back and was very reluctant to use them, having read the side effect leaflet. However, he DID give them a try and is so glad he did. They don't stop him getting bad heads but they DO shorten the length and severity of them.

    Many years ago, I was put on Clonodine (Dixarit) for my very frequent migraines. Mine were so bad, ANYTHING seemed to bring one on - stress, hormones, hunger, tirednes, going on holiday, even happy social gatherings!! They would last 3 or 4 days and, having four children to cope with, made life very difficult. I was lucky, in as much as although Clonidine didn't cure them, they weren't so severe, and I could carry on a little more normally, without being sick, after the first day of a migraine. ( I had them long before I was old enough for hot flushes) Then, I had to go on Beta blockers for a heart condition, so Dixarit was stopped. My migraines were slightly better, but then I came off of the beta blockers and HRT when my OCa was diagnosed and I had my Op, and my migraines were back with a vengeance. Especially as obviously my hormones were up the creek so my flushes and night sweats were horrendous and I was so tired with the Chemo. After a while I went back on the Clonidine and they slightly calmed down again. Also, probably my pace of life had slowed down a bit and the children were grown up!!

    What helps both my husband and me is a simple over the counter painkiller - SYNDOL. Unfortunately, it doesn't cure the migraine but it does help, where nothing else seems to. Really strong painkillers just make my visual disturbances worse and me sick. All Syndol is is Codeine and Paracetamol (which alone doesn't touch a bad head) The secret seems to be the extra little ingredient which is a muscle relaxent/anti histimine and a small amount of caffeine. (My sister's Doctor suggested that she takes her painkillers, which aren't Syndol, with Coca-cola as the caffeine makes the tablets work better). Actually, several other members of our family take Syndol, too. Migraines - what a thing to pass on to our children!!

    Maybe you should see your GP again to clarify whether it's ok to come straight off of Clonidine, if it is bad to take with Propranolol, and then give the Propranolol a try. I don't think anybody could have been more reluctant to take it than my Husband was.

    Sorry, this is rather-long winded. It must be the excitement of having a good signal. Mind you, we have had a power cut for a while, as I've typed this!!

    Keep us posted how you get on, Fingers crossed this will send,

    Love, Solange

  • My husband and I both suffer from classic migraines (with visual auras), and both of us find that lying in a dark room with a hot water bottle filled with near boiling water and wrapped in a towel (so that it doesn't burn us!) helps as much as anything. Also, while I know that many people do find caffeine helpful with migraines, it is a very strong migraine trigger for me. It might be worth trying to avoid it for a few weeks to see if that is true for you too.

  • Thanks to all of you. I have tried some of the things you mentioned and will investigate others. I am still wary of taking the beta blockers, they don't seem to have a very good press. Migraine is a real pain, in more than one way :-(

    W xx

  • Hi Wendy,

    I had my very first migraine attack when I was just eleven yrs old. I was told for years and years that I just hadto put up with them.

    Then one day, I was waiting outsdie the classroom to collect my eldest daughter from playgroup, I had an attack, and luckily a doctor from our then surgary was collecting his kids too. We had a chat and he told me to go and see him.

    I was 26 yrs old back then and he put me on one 25 micrograms of Clonodine a day. They worked wonders but over the years (now 54) I have gradually needed to increase the dose to 4 a day and at one point in my thrities I increased the dose to 6 a day for a while.

    Anyway, after the cancer the migraines became more and more frequent again, never as bad as pre-medication however bad enough to stop me in my tracks.

    My GP then put me on one 40 mg propranolol a day aswell and I have been fine.

    These did not stop the hot sweats however, I am not sure how much worse they could be maybe if I wasn`t already taking the clonodine.

    I had two migraines last week, they were only mild tho. One I went to bed with the other I took two pinl migroleve tabs and carried on. I don`t always get the headache if I can manage to obort it by taking migroleve as soon as my eyes go sun blind.

    To be honest with you Wendy I ignore the long lists of possible side effects, as long as I don`t have them. All medication has a side effect warning, sometimes we just need to ask ourselves the other alternative is what? kiving with them. I just know I couldn`t.

    Lots of love from Tina xxx

  • Thanks, Tina. I have had migraines since i was about 11 or 12 too, just before my periods started. I have had them about four or five times a month since then, except when I had HRT. My GP has decided that she would try me on Beta Blockers rather than clonidine. I am down from 2x twice a day to 1xtwice a day now, as she didn't tell me I had to wean myself off them before starting the others. The pharmacist told me that. I get on ok with the clonidine. It's the things I've heard about propranalol that are making me wary, so it's good to know they can work for some. When i have a migraine I get a headache on one side and also feel sick. Sometimes I am sick and sometimes I can be in bed, not able to do anything, for two days. These ones are less now though, only about once every three or four months. It's a real nuisance :-(

    Thanks again

    Love Wendy xx

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