Triptan allergy

Zboe Community Member June 15, 2007
  • Hi-

    Im new to this forum and after years of suffering from severe migraines am happy to have stumbled upon this group.

    About a year ago I developed a severe allergic-anaphylactic reaction to Imitrex (injectable) and was told to never use it again. As a result I have been to the ER twice with uncontrollable migraines (I also have hypotension so with the dehydration from vomiting it becomes even more critical with a major migraine).

    Is there anyone else out there that has this same problem with triptans (and this was the only triptan that worked during an attack) and besides the usual preventatives that we all try, what suggestions can anyone give me help me cope without triptans?

    Thanks for listening

    Zboe

11 Comments
  • Sandybv85
    Oct. 13, 2012
    Hello! I'm allergic to triptans (and codeine but that just makes itchy... Enough to want to rip my skin off but I can deal with it if necessary) = I've had a migraine for the past 8 days but I suppose I'm doing better, now it just feels like my head will crack in half and I'm going to die ... Anyway, I went to the ER 2 days ago and they gave me fluids (IV)...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    Hello! I'm allergic to triptans (and codeine but that just makes itchy... Enough to want to rip my skin off but I can deal with it if necessary) =\ I've had a migraine for the past 8 days but I suppose I'm doing better, now it just feels like my head will crack in half and I'm going to die ... Anyway, I went to the ER 2 days ago and they gave me fluids (IV) 1 shot of Reglan, 1 of ketorolac, 1 of benadryl and 2 of morphine..... The Dr. wanted to give me steroids but they scare me so instead he gave a prescription of fioricet and discharged me. This is the first time it gets this bad.... I have an appt. to see a neurologist in 2 MONTHS!!!! Is that insane or what? I am so desperate that I massaged one of those OTC muscle rubs on the right side of my head, my neck and back, and it helped more than I expected, thank God!!!!!! I usually drop off and pick up my hubby from work and I feel so guilty because I just haven't been able to even get out of bed since this started ... my in-laws have helped me (us) so much! I really need some relief if anyone has any suggestions please tell me, I would really appreciate it!
  • sherry
    Jan. 19, 2011

    I am new to this forum also.  I've had bad headaches all my life, but became intractable migraines when I was 21.  Doctors have tried so many different meds on me.  I've been on verapamil since I was 21.  I remember when my twins were just days old I had an intractable migraine and the ob gave me an injection of immitrex and walked out of...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I am new to this forum also.  I've had bad headaches all my life, but became intractable migraines when I was 21.  Doctors have tried so many different meds on me.  I've been on verapamil since I was 21.  I remember when my twins were just days old I had an intractable migraine and the ob gave me an injection of immitrex and walked out of the room thinking it was so safe.  I went into shock.  Doctors in the ER don't believe me when I say I'm allergic!  My neurologist gave me an injection of DHE in her office one day and thought I was upset when I couldn't talk.  My throat was closing up!  She scrambled to get an epi injection into me soon enough.  I am also allergic to ergotomines, cafergot and other meds to abort the headache.  I am now 50 years old and have taken a full course of topamax (they say the benefits have worn off). The last time a specialist tried to change my med I wound up with 2 week migraine and no way to stop it.  By the time it was over I had lost all short range vision in my right eye.  I am now left with medication for pain and anti nausea.  I have four kids from 10 to 18 and a husband who want me more able to participate in life.  I'll continue to read your forum and look for answers.

    • nancie c
      May. 19, 2011

      i am 35 yrs old n have had migraines for 24 yrs. i have been on so many meds . i too am allergic to triptans. my throat swells, my body hurts. like i was hit by a truck! i cant touch heat or come near it. i feel like im being scalded. i cant touch h2o! if i take a shower up to 8hrs after i take a pill, it feels like knives are stabbing me. i cant even give...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      i am 35 yrs old n have had migraines for 24 yrs. i have been on so many meds . i too am allergic to triptans. my throat swells, my body hurts. like i was hit by a truck! i cant touch heat or come near it. i feel like im being scalded. i cant touch h2o! if i take a shower up to 8hrs after i take a pill, it feels like knives are stabbing me. i cant even give my kids a bath. i get the chills and sleepy. and nausous. it sucks real bad! its the only thing that will help me, but then no dr will give me anything else. i called glaxo smith klein and the fda. they said im very allergic. but no1 believes me . drs wont give me any other pain meds. its like they dont care! maybe if they had migraines they would be more sympathetic. 

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Jun. 07, 2009

    I also had anaphylactic shock in reaction to triptans, Imitrex oral actually. The first two times I took it, it lessened my migraine but I did experience a feeling a general unwellness, but just assumed it was due to side effects of the drug. Then, the third time I took it I was outside in 90 degree weather, got freezing cold, disoriented, starting shaking,...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I also had anaphylactic shock in reaction to triptans, Imitrex oral actually. The first two times I took it, it lessened my migraine but I did experience a feeling a general unwellness, but just assumed it was due to side effects of the drug. Then, the third time I took it I was outside in 90 degree weather, got freezing cold, disoriented, starting shaking, and couldn't recognize my friends, really scary. I don't remember what happened the rest of the day, but was brought to the doctor at some point when I was told not to take it again (obviously).

     

    For about a year after that I was taking Fioricet at onset of a migraine, but I have severe (8-10) migraines on a normal basis and they happen at least twice a week, sometimes as many as 4-5 times and my doctor decided it was unsafe to take the drug so often. I've had them last 3 days, and they usually last 12 hours to 1 day. I've had two MRIs 3 years apart, and nothing seemed wrong other than a small grey mass that isn't growing so they don't think it's anything to worry about or has to do with my migraines.

     

    Right now, I'm still taking Fioricet at onset of migraine along with Topamax 50mg for the past 3 months and I honestly do not like it. It helps my migraines a lot which is a blessing, but the side effects are awful. It puts me in a very strange mood and social behavior is off, as in sometimes I'm unable to think of a correct response to simple statements and/or questions or a correct way to act towards someone or in a given situation. It seems to mess with your mental state, and I really hate that. If you can put up with that, I would recommend it because at the current time I only have about one to two migraines each week lasting about 2-3 hours each, and of a level around 4-5 when untreated by Fioricet, which is a major improvement. Topamax also seems to dumb you to a point and make you distracted more easily.

     

    I'm currently looking for a non-triptan alternative for a preventive migraine medicine if anyone knows of one... I'm not sure there's one out there, but if there is, I'm sure this would be right place to find out. Thanks, and good luck taking care of those head demons.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Oct. 17, 2009

      Ask your doctor about Migranal!!! It is not a triptan (it's an ergot), but you take it as you would take a triptan. I am allergic to triptans, also, but this med has been a miracle. I'm always so surprised that docs don't suggest this more often. Topamax actually made my migraines worse, plus they shot my memory to the point where my family was scared for me....

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Ask your doctor about Migranal!!! It is not a triptan (it's an ergot), but you take it as you would take a triptan. I am allergic to triptans, also, but this med has been a miracle. I'm always so surprised that docs don't suggest this more often. Topamax actually made my migraines worse, plus they shot my memory to the point where my family was scared for me. Migranal (for me) has been a much better option.

  • Anonymous
    PSULion0305
    May. 31, 2009

    I've suffered from migraines since I was 8 years old. When I was 17 (1997), I was in the neurologists office suffering from a severe migraine and the doctor gave me a shot of Imitrex. Immediately my throat closed - thank goodness I was in the doctors office.


    Skip ahead eight years, and another neurologist has put me on 200 mg of Topamax with use of Relpax...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I've suffered from migraines since I was 8 years old. When I was 17 (1997), I was in the neurologists office suffering from a severe migraine and the doctor gave me a shot of Imitrex. Immediately my throat closed - thank goodness I was in the doctors office.


    Skip ahead eight years, and another neurologist has put me on 200 mg of Topamax with use of Relpax as needed at the onset of migraines (rare now, thanks to Topamax - which has other side effects by the way). However, I began suffering out of the blue from chronic hives and no doctor or specialist could figure out the hives, anaphylactic shock, swollen lips, eyes, fingers, etc I have been experiencing for 8 months now. I've been on Prednisone, anywhere from 2-8 antihistamines, a reduced diet, etc etc etc. Yesterday, I woke up with a migraine, took a Relpax and went back to sleep and woke up 3 hours later covered in such bad hives and a swollen lip, I almost had to go to the ER but for the Prednisone and Epi-pen my allergist had prescribed. I called my pharmacist and after a quick talk about Relpax, she said I should try Imitrex; I mentioned my allergy and she said it sounds like I'm allergic to ALL triptans and it's lucky I didn't experience anaphylactic shock from Relpax (I probably hadn't because of all the antihistamines I've been on).


    I'll be calling my allergist and neurologist first thing Monday morning: I would imagine some sort of pain killer is going to be the answer. Although that drugged out, "floaty" feeling is NOT how I like to feel, if that's what will help with my rare, severe pain, I'll take it. Awhile back, I had gotten Stadol which did seem to help with the pain.


    I would recommend you speak with your neurologist about first, getting an MRI to rule out any other medical conditions that may be causing migraines then checking out Topamax - it's certainly not a cure all but it does help reduce the severity and frequency of these darn life pausing headaches!!! Another preventive medicine for some people are anti-depressants - something to do with the hormones and blood vessals.


    Good luck!

  • Anonymous
    Silverwolf
    Nov. 28, 2008

    I'm severely allergic to all triptans which includes Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, Axert and the like. Originally I had the same ER reaction to Imitrex as you but despite that my neurologists had me trying other related meds (until my reaction to one of them was near fatal and they took me off them forever). 

     

    Despite the like for them, there are many...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I'm severely allergic to all triptans which includes Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, Axert and the like. Originally I had the same ER reaction to Imitrex as you but despite that my neurologists had me trying other related meds (until my reaction to one of them was near fatal and they took me off them forever). 

     

    Despite the like for them, there are many other meds that might help like serotonin uptake inhibitors (despite usually being for anti-depression and/or anti-psychosis). anti-inflammatories (which you've probably already tried), ergotamines, and anti-seizure meds (sometimes what we mistake for migraine headaches are considered almost mini-seizures.  Supposedly this is very true if you have frequent auras that don't fit the clasic migraine style).

     

    I've gone through quite a few meds and after many nights spent in the Emergency Room I finally found Ultracet (I'd been using Ultram as a milder substitute for the harder pain relievers I was on before it but Ultracet works almost 3 times better for me) which helps at the worst points (but it's a rescue and not a preventative) and surprisingly (to me at least) acupuncture.  I tried the botox shots in the back of the head (which helped a little but not nearly enough to be anything close to worth it) despite my fear of needles (because I didn't have to see them for that) but acunpuncture cut my migraines from level 10s every day to actually having days where the highest the pain gets is a level 2 or 4 and points where it's even 0. 

     

    Hope you can find something :)

    • Anonymous
      zoeboe
      Oct. 17, 2009

      I finally have found relief with Chinese Om Massage therapy. Twice a month has allowed me to go off my Topamax completely (weaned myself off slowly with dr supervision). I will get about 1 or 2 migraines a month and they are very minor and rarely cause me to miss a day of work or activities. Before I had 2 or 3 a week and they were very severe. If I miss...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I finally have found relief with Chinese Om Massage therapy. Twice a month has allowed me to go off my Topamax completely (weaned myself off slowly with dr supervision). I will get about 1 or 2 migraines a month and they are very minor and rarely cause me to miss a day of work or activities. Before I had 2 or 3 a week and they were very severe. If I miss one massage I will have more migraines so even though insurance wont pay for it, it is well worth the cost. Plus the amt saved by not taking topamax has covered the cost of the massage (which also relieves stress and is just plain good for my body and soul)

  • Anonymous
    SP
    Aug. 16, 2008

    Hi-

    I also can't take any Triptan drugs as I had anaphylaxis and angioedema the first time I took Imitrex.  Six weeks to recover from the experience enough to get back to normal and four months later I still have some side effects I didn't have before (like dermographism).  

     

    The positive outcome of having such a severe allergic reaction to...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi-

    I also can't take any Triptan drugs as I had anaphylaxis and angioedema the first time I took Imitrex.  Six weeks to recover from the experience enough to get back to normal and four months later I still have some side effects I didn't have before (like dermographism).  

     

    The positive outcome of having such a severe allergic reaction to my newly prescriped medication was it got me into a neurologist quickly.  She put me on Topomax like the other sufferer mentioned although my dose of Topomax is much lower, I take a total of 75mg/day, 25 in the morning and 50 at night.  They say each person builds up to the proper dose.  My neurologist tells me this is a temporary solution to reset the nerve endings that cause the headaches but I went off the medicine for three days when I went away unexpectedly and I got a headache so the three-plus months I have been on the medicine is not long enough.

     

    Do you know what you are allergic to?  They are unable to figure out what I am allergic to and I am worried about other possible allergic reactions.

     

    Best of luck.

    • Teri Robert
      Health Guide
      Aug. 16, 2008

      SP,

       

      Please be very careful not to miss taking your Topamax. Abruptly discontinuing it can cause multiple problems, including seizures. We want you to be safe! :-)

       

      Teri

  • Anonymous
    holeth
    May. 07, 2008

    I'm allergic to Imitrex, too.  The buggers keep sending me free coupons.  I keep telling them to take me off their list.

     

    I didn't go anaphylactic, but my lymph nodes and glands swelled up huge!  It got so stiff, I could barely turn my head, and it looked like I was wearing a giant peach neck collar!  The docs are afraid to give me...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I'm allergic to Imitrex, too.  The buggers keep sending me free coupons.  I keep telling them to take me off their list.

     

    I didn't go anaphylactic, but my lymph nodes and glands swelled up huge!  It got so stiff, I could barely turn my head, and it looked like I was wearing a giant peach neck collar!  The docs are afraid to give me any of the other Triptan drugs, even if I could be reacting to some other ingredient in the pills.   I tried Imitrex for a handful of attacks.  I had the same reactions every time, and it only killed my headaches half the time. 

     

    I'm currently on 100 mg Topamax twice daily, cafergot to kill the occasional severe cluster headaches, and 400 mg of anaprox/aleve for the daily headaches that only feel as bad as a labor pain or a bad sprain.

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