Migraine medication tolerance, migraines affecting personality?

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  • Full Question:

    I am 40 year old male with a family history of migraines.

    I quickly build a tolerance to medications to treat the headaches. Is this normal? The other part of my question is can the pain affect my personality? A lot of the pain settles behind my eye. I find a patch keeping out all light helps. Is this true for anyone else? Janek.




    Dear Janek,


    You don't specify what type of medications you're having a problem with. There are different types of medications used to treat Migraines. It is possible and "normal" to build a tolerance to some medications, but it usually happens over an extended period of time, not quickly. For a better understanding of the types of medications used for Migraine, see Preventive, Abortive, and Rescue Medications - What's the Difference?

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    If you have three or more Migraines a month, or if your Migraines are especially severe and/or debilitating, talk with your doctor about preventive treatment. Migraine abortive medications such as the triptans -- Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, etc. -- are generally recommended rather than pain medications when you get a Migraine. These medications work to stop the Migrainous process in the brain, thus stopping the pain and other associated symptoms. Pain medications cannot stop the Migraine; they can only mask the pain for a few hours.


    "Personality" or mood can indeed be affected by a Migraine attack. During a Migraine, Migraineurs can experience mood swings, anxiety, panic, anger, and other mood issues because a Migraine impacts the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. These issues may last through the postdrome stage of the Migraine, but should resolve after that. Take a look at Anatomy of a Migraine for more information.


    Photophobia, increased sensitivity to light, is a very common Migraine symptom. That's why many Migraineurs retreat to a dark room during a Migraine


    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert



    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.


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    © Teri Robert and J.C. Krusz, 2008.

    Last updated July 21, 2008.


     migraines headaches health migraine headache and migraine

Published On: July 21, 2008