My migraines have been chronic for over five years now. I have at least 20 days every month when a migraine takes me down for the day. I can’t work or care for my family, and I stay home most of the time to avoid triggers like perfume. My doctor says there’s nothing left to try. Here’s my question: If one or two meds in a family haven’t helped, is it possible that other meds in that family might work? My doctor says it’s not worth trying them, but I’ve seen people say otherwise online. I’ve read your column for a long time and respect your opinion. So, what do you say? Thank you, Eleanor.
This is an excellent question. The short answer is, “Yes.” It’s unfortunate, but finding effective preventives is very much a process of trial and error. We just don’t have medications that work for everyone or even most people. It is definitely worth trying other medications in a family, even if you’ve tried some of them, and they failed. We’ve seen Migraine patients try some of the medications in a particular family with no results, then try another one that helped them. Another preventive to consider is onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) injections. Again, the treatment doesn’t work for everyone, but it works well for many people with chronic Migraine.
If you need it, you can find a list of preventive treatments in Migraine and Headache Prevention – So Many Options.
Another issue to consider is the doctor who’s treating you for Migraine. Are you seeing a Migraine specialist? Neurologists aren’t necessarily Migraine specialists, and Migraine specialists aren’t necessarily neurologists. For more on this and links to search for a specialist near you, see Why, How, and Where to Find a Migraine Specialist.
Thank you for your question,
Dave Watson and Teri Robert
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Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert. Questions may be submitted via our submission form. Accepted questions will be answered by publishing the answers in our Ask the Clinician column. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can’t answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice.