7/23/07 #2 - Migraine before storm, doc won't refill Imitrex without appointment?

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  • Full Question:
    Why do I suffer a migraine just before a storm? Low pressure systems cause me migraines no matter winter or summer.


    Why does ice cream trigger a migraine? If I eat it before I go to bed, I wake up with a migraine around 4am to 6am.
     

    Even though I am on Inderal as a preventative, I still get an occasional migraine due to certain instances.


    Nothing helps. Aleve, Advil, Excedrin, Aspirin. None of these even take the edge off.


    Recently I ran out of Imitrex and my doctor would not call in a refill for me until I was seen again. I am below poverty level and cannot afford the Imitrex let alone coming up with more money for a doctor's visit. I have already been diagnosed with chronic migraines. I wish the doctor would just give me a a refill when I need it. It always feels like a scam to get more money for the doctors.

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    Thank you for your time, Ellen.


    Answer:


    Dear Ellen;

    Let's take these questions one at a time:


    Migraine just before a storm: Changes in the weather and barometric pressure are huge Migraine triggers for many people. You can read more about it in Migraines Often Triggered By Change In the Weather.


    Ice cream: It seems that something in the ice cream you're eating is a Migraine trigger for you. It's not unusual for a Migraine to occur hours, up to 48 hours, after you eat a trigger food. The answer? Don't eat ice cream. That's not meant as sarcasm; that's just how it is when Migraineurs have food triggers. You can read more about food triggers in Managing Migraine - Migraine Trigger Foods.


    No preventive regimen prevents every Migraine. What do you mean by "occasional?" If more than a couple a month, maybe it's time to talk with your doctor about changing your Inderal dosage or adding a second preventive. Also, what do you mean by "due to certain circumstances?" If you know what's triggering them, can you avoid the triggers?


    Sorry, but it's not unusual for over-the-counter medications such as those you listed to not help with Migraine attacks. It would be much easier for Migraineurs if they did, but they often don't.


    Prescription medications are made available free or at reduced cost for patients with low income. Check out http://www.pparx.org/ for more information. At that site, you can find information about patient assistance programs and even get the paperwork started.


    How long has it been since you've seen your doctor? If it's been six months or more, it's pretty standard for doctors to refuse to prescribe until they've seen you. It's not a "scam to get more money for the doctors;" it's appropriate caution. Your health can change over time, and your doctor needs to see you to be sure Imitrex, or whatever you're asking for, is still appropriate and safe for you to take.


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert


    If you need to find a headache and Migraine specialist, please see our listing of patient recommended specialists.


     

    About Ask the Clinician:

    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert. If you have a question for this section of our site, please click HERE. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers here. No questions will be answered privately.


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Published On: July 23, 2007