Frequent use of Amerge - OK to take long term without negative side affects?

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    My name is Linda and I am 53 years old.  I have had migraines for the past 18 years.  I take Amerge 2.5mg to control the migraines.  I take 18 pills every 25 days, which works fine for me.  I get the headaches almost daily, but use to get them on a couple times per month when I was much younger.  Is it ok to take this drug long term without negative side affects?  The different classes of drugs to curtail frequency do not work for me and I have had many CAT scans to verify that no tumors exist. Linda.

     

     

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    Dear Linda;

     

    Nobody really knows the long-term effects of taking triptans such as Amerge as frequently as you do.

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    With a "headache" nearly daily though, I have to wonder if the Amerge is contributing to the problem by causing medication overuse headache (MOH), aka rebound. Taking Migraine abortive meds such as the triptans (including Amerge) or ergotamines or any kind of pain med more than two or three days a week can make matters worse by causing medication overuse headache (MOH), aka rebound. See Medication Overuse Headache - When the Remedy Backfires for more information on this.

     

    An even bigger question is the long-term effects of having such frequent Migraines. Anyone who has more than three Migraines a month needs to be working on prevention. There's growing evidence that Migraine is a progressive brain disease. A recent study showed that Migraines can cause brain damage, and that people with three or more Migraines a month are more susceptible to this damage. For more information, see Is Migraine a Progressive Brain Disease? and Yes, Migraines Can Cause Brain Damage.

     

    Don't lose hope about preventives. There are now over 100 medications and supplements that can be used for Migraine and headache prevention, and even if some medications in a particular class don't work, that doesn't mean others won't. The frustration of trying to find what works for us can make it seem as if we’ve tried it all, but with so many possible preventives, it’s literally impossible to have tried them all. See Migraine preventive medications – too many options to give up! for more information.

     

    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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    We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.

     

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    Last updated February 4, 2009.

     

     migraines headaches health migraine headache and migraine

Published On: February 04, 2009