Migraine Remedies (Medication)


To alleviate my pain, I have used various medications in my life. When I was a kid, the first ones I started were simple analgesics like metamizole sodium, aspirin or paracetamol. They pretty much did not help even slightly, and I had the pain and the nausea for 15-20 hours. I didn’t know any better, and my parents didn’t know any better either. At least they did not have any side effects. During my teenage years I went on to using naproxen and ibuprofen. With higher doses (800mg ibuprofen as a single dose, 1100mg naproxen as a single dose) they did decrease the pain, but did not cure it completely. And when their effects wore off, the intensity of the pain was back and additionally there was the stomach pain and diarrhea caused by the medication.

The first miracle for me was flurbiprofen. In 200 mg dose the brand name drug did cure the migraine in around 2 hours. But for some reason it is not sold anymore in Turkey and again for some reason the generics don’t have the same effect. Scientifically that shouldn’t happen. But the missing effect on migraine and the increase in severity of side effects did actually happen. I am not arguing that brand names and generics have different effect. But I also don’t trust drug companies and especially people from the government that inspect them. With a corrupted government like in Turkey, one wouldn’t know what they are capable of for money. I actually had in mind getting the generic analyzed by a friend in the chemistry department, but for some reason never bothered doing it. Generally, when the pain goes away, I don’t think of migraines. During this time, which corresponds to my first years in the university I have also experimented with codeine combinations at lower doses. It pretty much did not stop the migraine but for a small time helped with the pain levels. So alone it wasn’t enough, but I began using it in combination with flurbiprofen.

Later when I began not feeling content with the generic flurbiprofen. I tried the same formula as generic from various companies, but all of them had varied side effects with less analgesic effect. So it was time to look for other stuff. I looked for other profen-based drugs since a large dose of ibuprofen or flurbiprofen helped me. I found ketoprofen and I also stumbled upon diclofenac. Diclofenac only helped rarely and when the pain was very low in intensity. Ketoprofen was better and for some time I used it.

Up to that point I didn’t want to use any migraine specific medications, since they were relatively new and their long term side effects and their interactions with other simple cold medications were still unknown. But all those drugs I were using were irritating my stomach, and they were not guaranteed to stop the pain. In many times the pain didn’t stop until the next day. I practically can’t have a 8 to 5 job because of this. So this had to stop, and I decided to give a shot to different triptans and antidepressants that are used for treating or preventing migraines.

I have used rizatriptan, eletriptan and sumatriptan. Eletriptan had no effect, rizatriptan made my brain feel weird and was inconsistent. It was sometimes helpful, sometimes not. Antidepressant for some reason made the thing worse. Apparently they work only if your migraine is based on stress or anxiety (Of course one shouldn’t generalize this from a single sample). But this shows how important personalized medicine is. Later I will also talk about that subject. But for now let’s stay on topic. The last triptan I have used was sumatriptan in tablet form. It did cure my migraines but only when I took it on an empty stomach and when the pain was not extreme and for some reason it felt like it worked slowly.  And all of these had some kind of side effects mostly related to my stomach.

By the way I have of course tried to use anti-acids or proton pump inhibitors in combination with the pain medication to address the side effects. But when I got enough dosage to help with the side effects, they also interfered with the other medication. It was always a trade-off between them. I have tried to put some time between them, took them 2 hours before, 1 hour before, 1 hour later, 2 hours later etc and noted the reaction of my body to it.

So I thought of injections. They don’t go through the stomach, so they might be a good candidate. And I found my last medicine. It is Imigran Subject. It’s used with an auto injector, you press it against a fat part of your body and press a button. Just like that a spring pops off and the needle goes inside. You hold it for a couple of seconds to let the whole drug go in. It’s not painful and I am not lying, the effects start within 2-3 minutes, my headache becomes very mild only after 30 minutes and in 1 hour it is generally completely gone. Of course there is a catch. It is costly. Here in Turkey a single shot at the time I’m writing this costs around 8-9 US dollars. And it is not known what kind of long-term effects it will have. Therefore, I try to use it cautiously, only when the pain is severe. There is a YouTube video below to see how to use it.

And for when the pain is not so severe, I still use ketoprofen in sustained release form. And there is a newly released combination of naproxen with codeine. I use those two in combination and only when they are not helpful, I resort to my beloved sumatriptan injection.

I hope this will help anyone with migraines.