What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Migraine Headache Medication
Using medication to treat headaches and migraines is not as simple as one might hope. While there is a lot of discussion out there in the migraine world about how “evil” various medications are, and not without reason, deciding to treat headaches and migraines using medication is a decision made between you and your doctor. Do not allow anyone to make you feel bad about your decision if it works for you. Regardless, treating headaches and migraines with medication can be tricky and not a “silver bullet” solution.
Doctors, with mostly good intentions, tend to overstate the positive benefits and reliability of prescription migraine and headache medications while usually understating the fact that many of these medications do not work for many people, can be addictive, cause rebound headaches, can simply stop working, and have significant side is this? Many doctors have the belief that if you tell a patient a medication will work- they will think it works and if you tell a patient they will experience a certain side effect- they will experience that side effect. It seems many doctors believe strongly in the power of suggestion, especially when treating conditions that one can rationalize as being “all in one’s head.”
Relying on the power of suggestion to treat headaches and migraines is not helpful. Many patients who have not dealt with long-term health problems will be surprised to find that a course of treatment recommended by their doctor doesn’t work, as most people will be used to having medical problems resolved quickly with little fuss. This is not the case with headaches and migraines. Reactions to medications can be very personal. What works for one person may not work for another. If a medication does not help you, it isn’t that something is wrong with you, that you didn’t try hard enough, or that you don’t really have a headache and migraine condition – you just need to try something else.
So what does this all mean? It means that you will need to work a little harder than the average patient to be well informed and ask important questions as you cannot assume your doctor will give you ALL of the information you need. Try to be aware of the common migraine and headache medications (this chapter will help with that), how they work, and what side effects to expect. You will also need to have excellent communication with your doctor so that together you can decide when a medication is not working or the side effects impair your life excessively.