Top 75 Migraine and Headache Questions, #42

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  • Full Question:
    I have suffered from migraines since my early teen years (about 2 a year). I am now 35 and pregnant with our 3rd child. I have suffered greatly during my pregnancies, especially with my girl. I had about 15 migraines during that pregnancy and have had about 2 a month since giving birth to her. I had to take hydrocodone and Demerol during my first 2 pregnancies. While we were not expecting this pregnancy we are excited. I am however very nervous about suffering through another pregnancy and wishing I didn’t have to take medications during it. I worry with each pregnancy that it will not be safe for the baby. I am about 7 weeks and have already suffered from 2 migraines. One I took Imitrex and Relpax not knowing I was pregnant and the second I took Demerol. I should also tell you that my migraines are caused by hormones, weather and stress.
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    My questions are:
    • Is there any other drug that can be used during pregnancy either to prevent or help with pain that will also enable me to keep up with the 2 kids I have (16 months & 3 yr)?
    • How do you feel about the safety of Demerol and hydrocodone during pregnancy?
    • Can you shed any light about why my migraines have gotten worse after having children.
    Any help you can give me to take back to my neurologist would be great. Thanks so much!! Shannon.


    Dear Shannon;

    I feel for your quandary. And, congratulations!

    First of all, no one HAS to take opiates as primary treatment for migraines. 2 per month can easily be treated with IV magnesium sulfate or other benign items like metochlopramide if there is a lot of nausea. If the Relpax works, then you should discuss this with your obstetrician, as this is a Category C medication. I have prescribed triptans successfully during pregnancy. Its up to your doc. Also, a consult with a headache expert might be very useful.

    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. 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: April 08, 2007