Newest Medications: Effexor & DHE

Since I was at the Johns Hopkins Headache Center, my new neurologist has put me on two new medications. I really had hope with him (and I still do!). I am still impressed with how he recognized my visual snow is not an aura.

My first medicine, is a preventative called Effexor (Venlaflaxine). He described it as a “mood” drug, and it is an antidepressant¬†in the SSNRI group. I don’t mind antidepressants if they would help with my migraine, but I think I keep getting put on them because I cry uncontrollably during my appointments. But it is hard to not get upset when you realize you are no longer in control of your life! My migraines tell me when I can sleep, eat, socialize.. everything.

So far I have noticed no effect from the Effexor besides the side effects. I can’t say I am surprised! My appetite is GONE and I don’t even want to eat anymore; I get the dry mouth which I HATE, and then there are the sleep problems! I have never once in my life had trouble sleeping until now. I was such a good sleeper and slept too much actually! And now I wake up every few hours and toss and turn and it’s too hot or too cold or just not comfortable and I’m wide awake. Sleep is one of my triggers as well, so if anything this has made my migraines worse! I’m averaging about an 8 on the pain scale this week.

My second medicine is a rescue medicine called Migranal (Dihydroergotamine Mesylate, or DHE) and it’s a nasal spray:

YESSS mess my blood vessels up!
YESSS mess my blood vessels up!

So far I have tried to use it 3 times and no effect. I have 5 more boxes of it until I can say it completely doesn’t work I guess. It’s weird because I can feel it just sitting in my nose and I have to wait for it all to absorb in. Really not my favorite way to take a medicine, but if it worked I would deal with it!

So I’m pretty much back at square one in terms of relief. I try to not take OTC medicines, but I need to be able to function somewhat at work. I need to get more Botox scheduled this month, but JH takes forever to call me back! If at all. Please call me so I can have needles stuck in my head again!

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4 thoughts on “Newest Medications: Effexor & DHE

  1. I was wondering about the nasal DHE.. We get the IV DHE but it’s an inpatient stay. It works REALLY well for us.. I was hoping to eventually transition to the nasal DHE as a booster for the IV version to help elongate the effects.. But as you noted.. It isn’t a potent as the IV version. We are supplementing ours with Riboflavin. Have you seen this as a preventative? SO much easier to use a “vitamin” for migraine mitigation then the other chemicals.. but when it works.. I don’t really care. Hope you eventually see some inprovement with the DHE

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    1. Thank you! I had just used my 4th vial of the nasal DHE this morning and I haven’t noticed an effect. I did notice some sort of weird tightness in my chest, kind of similar to how I felt when I couldn’t tolerate triptans. Like my blood vessels were doing a weird thing. I have not heard of using Riboflavin yet! That is something I am definitely going to look into. I honestly wouldn’t mind staying for a few days for an IV version just to see if it works. I’ll see what my neurologist says next time I see him. I am so glad it is helping you though!

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      1. You know that is what DHE is right? It is a vasoconstrictor. So they are doing a weird thing. Getting the IV version is 1,000 times that. It makes your muscles feel like they are being “ripped or shredded apart.” And you can’t take anything for he pain. But, the upside.. One week of misery for up to 6 months of no migraines for us.. is fabulous! Definitely worth the trade off. Riboflavin is literally B2. using a vitamin to treat migraines.. and melatonin.. Which we didn’t tolerate but studies are being conducted now on the efficacy of it for treatment. It did help us regulate sleep patterns which is important.

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      2. Wow I didn’t know that it was so painful to get the IV version. But at this point I will take anything I can get! I haven’t had one single pain free day in 3 years now. I cannot remember the last time I didn’t have a migraine. 6 months for no migraine, it would definitely be worth it!

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