Sunday, 20 February 2011


For almost a year I was blissfully migraine free.....

I have always suffered with headaches, I always say since 12 as I remember taking some paracetamol on my way to school prior to having a horrible headache in a French lesson in my first year at secondary school. As I got older they got worse and by the time I went to University I was regularly having headaches which disrupted my life. One summer holiday I went to my GP who advised that what I was describing sounded like migraines and prescribed a prophylactic medication (not sure what). When I went back to Uni my GP there took me off both the prophylactic and the contraceptive pill.

Whilst on my placement year at British Airways 2001/02) I worked out that I generally had migraines when I had eaten dairy products so went more or less dairy free - reducing the number of migraines I was having significantly.

Nothing really helped the migraines but when I had one I would generally be able to sleep them off until in 2004 suddenly nothing would help and a migraine ran into the next day and caused me to be unable to go to work (ambulance service). I went to my GP, who was very helpful and reassuring and I was prescribed sumatriptan (Imigran).

With the sumatriptan and my eventual completely dairy free diet I managed my migraines successfully until January 2007 when I had the relapse that led to my MS diagnosis in May 2007. After that things just progressed. I went from taking approximately 12 sumatriptan tablets a year to taking almost 12 in a month by 2008. Eventually I discussed the migraines with my neurologist and MS Nurse and was offered a prophylactic medication. I didn't take up the offer until things got silly in approx September 2008.

I started on topiramate and then tried amitriptyline, neither of which helped (although amitriptyline is great for sleeping!!). Propranolol was the next drug. I started on 160mg with no benefit but once I was on 320mg a day I stopped having migraines - wonderful! I had a couple over the year but it was such a relief to stop having 2 or 3 a week......

Before Christmas I had a few migraines but I put that down to overindulging, now things have continued and I have used 6 sumatriptan tablets since I picked up a new prescription mid January. It is sooo disappointing to be having migraines again especially as the migraines are more intrusive than my MS..... So the questions are - does the efficacy of propranolol as a migraine prophylactic wear off and has anything changed?

I don't seem to be able to find the answer to my first question, however my second one I considered this morning and thought of something. Up to just before Christmas I used to drink at least 1 can of coke zero a day, maybe 2, now I drink caffeine free diet coke almost exclusively and don't have any other drinks with caffeine in them. I am now going to start drinking coke zero again and see what happens - maybe stopping so suddenly caused a reaction, maybe the caffeine helps the propranolol work - I hope it'll help anyway.......

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Hi Vic. I haven't commented in ages, but I still read every post :-)
Just a thought - is it possible that you have in intolerancy to aspartame?
Because Coke zero and diet cokes contain it, and aspartame has been strongly associated with migraine.
Aspartame is in SO many products it may be that even though you have cut out dairy you are still getting aspartame. Interestingly, aspartame has also been linked to MS.
Just thought I'd mention it, in case you didn't know.
Take care :-)