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What's in your emergency migraine 'kit'?


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I've had four debilitating migraines with aura & partial vision loss in the past 6 weeks, and out of fear am now carrying Maxalt with me everywhere.  I'm curious to know what other sufferers do... what are your "go-to" migraine meds, and do you ever feel safe enough to go out the house or be somewhere without an emergency kit?

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I always have with me - excedrin, change for the vending machine at work so I can see if bolting some caffeine will help, sunglasses, migranal spray vial, zofran, my water bottle and packets of rehydrating mix because i tend to vomit a lot with my migraines, an emergency card with my meds and contacts, my phone and charger, a little card with my biofeedback exercise reminders, a letter from my neurologist with his contact info and treatment recommendations if its bad enough that I end up in the ER.

I do not feel okay without my kit. I have been caught out by a sudden severe migraine too many times to chance it anymore. The sooner I can treat it hopefully the sooner my life returns to normal. It seems like a lot but it all fits in a pocket of my work bag, if it's not something I normally have on me. When I'm not working I have a kit stashed in my car. Getting a migraine makes me feel pretty helpless so preparing as best I can takes some of the power away, for me anyhow.

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Thanks for the response - the zofran is a reminder that I should add my antiemetics to the little plastic Maxalt box. I also routinely carry meds for tension headaches, but with the migraines I find that if I don't intervene at the start of the aura, no painkiller is going to do anything.  I went for years (nearly a decade) without a migraine, so having them hit again now (and so frequently) has given me a bit of a shock.

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This thread rocks.

 

In no particular order:

 

Ammonia inhalers (they sometimes (not always) stop a migraine in its tracks if I use right after aura; this is arcane secret lore, but please pass it on), card with local contact and doctor's contact, dark sunglasses (super dark, like Ray Charles sunglasses), caffeine pills (no-doz), and Vicodin. Also, card to myself that says "Go home now while you can still see to drive" I should get this tattooed on the back of my hand.

 

Alas, triptans don't work for me, I envy those of you who find relief from them.

 

 

ETA

Regular coke, in the red can. Not diet coke, not pepsi. The red coke helps a lot. I try to have change for the machine to get one, as someone else has suggested. (I have heard that back in the day pharmacists dispensed plain coke syrup for severe headaches. But, not the cocaine era Coca-Cola, that's a whole nother thing).

Edited by goldfish
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Woke up with one today.  Mine are sinus related, I think. 

 

Advil - lots

Fiorinal - only up to two

Pseudo ephedrine table, i.e. advil cold and sinus - only one

no lights

If very very bad and I feel like quickly sabering my head off, a hot hot shower directed in one stream onto my sinuses.

 

Triptans do not work for me either.  Just the word gives me shivers.  

 

No typing.  heh.

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I'd heard that the triptans don't work for everyone.  I'm extremely glad that the Maxalt is helping me for now (hopefully it'll last).  I do feel a bit spacey afterwards and sometimes partial numbness in my face (on the opposite side to where the migraine started; I guess it makes sense because of how the med works), but it seems to halt the full blown attack if I take it in time.  

 

 I used to use cafergot

 

 

I tried cafergot when I was last experiencing migraines several years ago, and it just made me puke even more than I already wanted to.  I'm not in the US, so I have no idea if it's still available over here.  

 

Another question to those here, if I may: when did it reach the stage where you saw a neurologist?

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I did see a neurologist, who did losts of tests and trials, then referred me to a pain specialist (mine was an anesthesiolgist, as most are). After an MRI and trying every triptan (literally), I was put in the group of approx 30 percent for whom nothing works but narcotics. My Rx is Vicodin now, suggested by the neurologist and seconded by the pain doc. It works very well for me, and is not so strong that I can't still function. The neurologist was the first step in getting there. My GP wanted me on daily preventatives, which my pdoc did NOT want. Neurologist was sensitive to that.

 

ETA

Sorry, didn't address your question completely. My migraines have always been debilitating when I had them. I can go years without them, but they showed up again a few years ago. Blinding pain, full-on. Not gradual. So the migraine level was always the same -- I went to the neurologist when I realized my GP was not going to take my migraines seriously enough to actually treat them.

Edited by goldfish
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I saw my regular doctor when my migraines ramped up suddenly from one every couple months to multiple migraines per week because it was severely interfering with my daily activities. He referred my to a neurologist, who I still see at least quarterly when I get Botox. My migraines are suspected to be a symptom of a hereditary stroke disorder.

I also take narcotics, though infrequently. I don't keep them as part of my kit when I'm out and about because they make me loopy which I don't feel safe being when I'm not in my home, and I won't use them if I have to drive. I'm also really aware of medication overuse headaches.

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I have tried a lot of migraine meds and pain meds to find relief. Topamax was a good prevention med, but it messed with cognitively, badly, and other weird side effects. I've tried Maxalt, Imitrex, found out I'm allergic to that family of drugs, and ended up on nadolol (a blood pressure med), 40 mg, daily, for prevention. It did a GREAT job on cutting down the episodes of migraines I had per month. The doc  who recommended/rx'd it to me was on it for the same reason, and it really helped her. I had some breakthrough stuff happen, and she told me I'm out of options. I saw a neuro, she literally scoffed and said there are plenty of options. I've arrived at 25 mg pheregen and 25 mg visatril. It works like a charm, knocks me out for awhile, For awhile I used to take both with me when I'd leave town for a couple days at a time, but I've gotten out of the habit since my migraines have really settled down overall.

 

Hope you find something that helps!

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I keep in my purse: 2 100mg Imitrex pill with 1 10mg Reglan (helps with absorption), 1 Sumatriptan kit, 1 Migranal kit, 1 zofran. The migranal works the best for me, about 50% of the time.  So I guess I am carrying around a lot of sumatriptan, even though my go to med is now migranal.

 

Cafergot was the first med I ever tried that wasn't a narcotic. That was in 1979 or 80. It never really worked for me. Before that, I was only getting headaches every couple of months, so my dad just gave me codeine.

 

But since then, I have never been offered narcotics. It pisses me off, because I see how many people on the boards get narcotics. And I can't even go to Urgent Care or the ER because DH can't drive, and I am not calling an ambulance for a migraine. So it would be really helpful. Once a year, for a vacation, my doctor will give me a little stash of Vicodin, but that is it. I have asked not to be given Fioricet because a 1st degree family member became addicted to it, and that makes me too nervous to take it. I've stopped using Nsaids, except once a month or so for muscle aches. I'm limited by the lithium anyway, but I stopped before the lithium.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

peppermint essential oil.  a drop on each temple and one under each nostril. When the migraine comes on, sights sounds and smells are all heightened. It keeps the puking at bay sometimes.  In my car I keep those emergency ice packs that you can break with your hands and they instantly become cold.  That way if I don't have immediate access to some ice for my forehead and back of neck, that works in a pinch kind of.  I throw some Aleve in there.  I take Propranolol and recently Topamax to prevent migraines, but don't take any specific migraine med once they hit.  Usually just use Aleve.  However, once it has hit the puking stage, no med is going to work and I am just going to have to ride it out.

 

Diet Pepsi for me. Gallon Ziploc bag if I start throwing up.

 

If I get home in time, dark room, lights out, two fans, ice packs, peppermint oil and pray the nausea and vice grip around my head go away. 

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I tried fioricet at one point, didn't touch the headache at all. Pain meds don't do much for me except make me throw up (Vicodin), not work (fioricet, Percocet), etc. grrr. For awhile I tried the ibuprofen route but took too much, consistently, over time and t bothered my stomach/whatever.

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I don't carry a kit per say, because I don't leave the house much.  But I can't take triptans (they make my head feel like it's going to explode), so I get the following: botox shots every three months, fioricet, and stadol nasal spray.  I use the fioricet first, and if it doesn't work after two doses one hour apart, I take the stadol.  The stadol is extremely effective in stopping my migraines, but it renders me unable to open my eyes (it's a pretty potent opiod) and goofs me up almost worst than morphine.  but since I've been prescribed it about 6 months ago, I haven't had to go to urgent care for a migraine once.  That's a huge relief off me to be able to successfully treat the migraines at home.

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