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Friday, July 15, 2011 JESSMESS81, Community Member, asks

Q: Is there any safe non narcotic abortive thats not a triptan that I can take?

m having a huge problem with Triptans...Ive tried maxalt, frova, treximet, and imitrex. The only thing that seems to help me is excedrine migraine along with fioricet when I have a real bad attack...but the pain behind my eye never goes away and all I wanna do is sleep. When I take a triptan I feel SICKER and have to sleep it off. Im in recovery (been clean 6 years) and really can only take fioricet when I absolutely have to, and it really doesnt do much but ease some of the tension. These headaches have become a chronic issue.. I had my son a year ago, and am 30 years old and apparently my mom had chronic migraine for about 4 years. The propranolol has helped IMMENSELY but all docs wanna give me is triptans as an there any safe non narcotic abortive thats not a triptan I can take? Im eating excedrine migraine like theyre candy. Just wanted to share and see if anyone else is like me where the triptans dont work. It seems like they work for everyone but me. Since Ive been on the beta blockers my migraines went from 12-15 a month to only 4-5 a month
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Answers (1)
Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
7/17/11 9:09pm

Hi Jessmess81,


Triptans are not opioids (narcotics) rather, medication that stops the Migraineous process. There is a lot of confusion about all the different medications we can take to relieve our Migraine pain. There are acutally three different types; abortive medications that stop the migrainous process like triptans, ergotomines and DHE; preventive medications that prevent attacks and rescue medications such as opioids that we use when abortives can't be taken or don't work. For more information on these three types of medications check out this article:

Preventive, Abortive, and Rescue Medications - What's the Difference?


How many days a week do you take something to relieve these headaches? This could be one of the problems - you see taking Migraine abortive meds such as the triptans or ergotamines, excedrin and any kind of pain medication,  -- prescription or over-the-counter -- 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.  Does this help any?


DHE, Migranal nasal spray, are abortives. Do you take your triptan at the first sign of a Migraine attack? That is when they are most effective- not to wait to make sure it is a Migraine...when we know it is one!!! We all do it , so I know how that feels. THe wait and see game. What kind of trouble are you having with the triptans? There are a few others to try - replax, amerge, cambria, and Axert.


Let me know, ok?


JESSMESS81, Community Member
7/18/11 10:06am

Well, before I started the beta blockers I had to take excedrin Migraine every morning as soon as I woke up because of the pain behind my eye..I knew my migraine was lingering.  Now I feel great and past 2 days no excedrine.  My problem is everytime I feel a real attack coming on I take a triptan and I get shortness of breath, chest and neck pressure, and I just feel yucky and nausea is way worse.  Ive had this issue with every one Ive taken so far.  Ive had acupuncture done, watch my triggers and take the beta blockers 3 times a day.  I now take fioricet if I get a migraine attack and Ive only had 2 this month...all the fioricet does is make the pain more manageble whick is fine if it werent a narcotic.  I heard about a medication called Midrin as an abortive, but its off the market.  I wanna never have to take rescue meds but it seems to be my only alternative thus far.  My husband dispenses it to me, and Ive had the same script for almost 4 mos, and theres still 24 left.  Im being careful but still searching for a better alternative.

Katinthecorner, Community Member
7/18/11 10:50am

Hi Jessie:


I replied to your sharepost, but I'm going to reply here too.


Midrin is the ONLY thing that works for me.  It is discontinued, but if your doctor prescribes it you can have it made up at a compounding pharmacy.  It takes a fair amount of detective work to find one that can make it (there is a shortage of one of the ingredients).  But if you feel you have exhausted your other options it would be worth looking into. 

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By JESSMESS81, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/07/14, First Published: 07/15/11