Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Another end to headaches

I once wrote a blog entry entitled 'An end to headaches', which was somewhat presumptuous as this year I have suffered from a large number of headaches. It got to the stage that I would take half a pill of sumatriptan at 9 am every morning in order to treat the headache which was just starting (it's very strange but I could set my clock by this). So I went to my doctor and asked for prophylactic (i.e. preventative) treatment.

At first I was prescribed propranolol, which is the primary medication used to prevent migraine. The dosage was to be 80 mg slow release per day, but the doctor initially prescribed  a smaller dosage of 10 mg three times a day in order to acclimatise me to the medication, which is a beta-blocker and leads to reduced pulse and/or blood pressure. I lasted three days on this regime: on the third, I was so tired and apathetic that I realised that I couldn't continue with it.

It took a month and another spate of concentrated migraines for me to return to the doctor. This time he prescribed a medication which is not used so much these days: amitryptiline. The wiki entry begins "[this] is a medicine used to treat a number of mental illnesses", which sounds very daunting. It is prescribed in dosages of 250 mg/day when used for treating mental illness. My dosage is a mere 10 mg/day. The major side effect is that my mouth gets dry during the morning; apparently it can also lead to weight increase, and it is true that I seem to be hungry all the time (about half a kilo has been added to my weight). Somewhere I read that 'success in treating migraines' means that the incidence is decreased by 50%, which is not very encouraging, but it's better than nothing.

The first week with this medication didn't bring any improvement (this would have been the last week in August); the next week I was ill with a presumed viral infection - I never get migraines when this happens. And since then ... nothing. I had a slight headache last Thursday but it only started in the evening and didn't affect me very much.

So it really does seem that migraines are a thing of the past. I'm hoping that this is the way things will be in the future. Of course, whilst writing this, I felt a familiar tickle at the back of my head, so I think I'll take half a sumatripan just to be safe.

No comments: