Imitrex fail!

‘Here are some samples of Imitrex. Take one as you feel a migraine coming on.’ Was what I was told by my doctor early in my migraine career. Up to that point, I had taken ibuprofen, and as it made a slight dent in the pain, I was hoping for bigger results.

Then came game day…

I was going to a good friends house to visit with her and let our kids play.  It was about a 30 minute drive.  As I pulled up to her house, my eyes began doing their kaleidoscope tricks.   Oh wait!  I have a pill that can help me!  I took the prescribed Imitrex.  Full migraine to follow 20 minutes later as the kaleidoscope eyes relieved themselves to leave me with an overall dull feeling.  Then, something that I hadn’t experienced yet in my migraine career, praying to the porcelain gods as I vomited in my good friends bathroom.


Snapshot of that moment:  my two small children (didn’t have the third yet) running around with my friends’ two small kids, playing, my friend is watching the children, and I am puking in her downstairs bathroom.  (Can I say how happy I am that she had such a wonderfully clean home?  I don’t know how to express my appreciation for a clean toilet when puking in another’s bathroom.)

After I returned from the bathroom, I laid on the floor of the living room on my back.  Although the back of my head was on the floor, it felt like I was raising it up, my neck muscles were sore and tightened. Scared, and so thankful this was a good friend that I wasn’t embarrassed to be in front of during all this crap, I read the paperwork that came with Imitrex.

  • Vomiting, check.
  • Drowsiness to the point of barely able to keep my eyes open, check.
  • Tightened neck muscles, check.  See below more specific details of the tightened neck:

‘Chest/jaw/neck tightness can commonly occur soon after using sumatriptan. Only rarely are these signs of a serious condition. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a serious reaction due to a lack of blood flow to the heart, brain, or other parts of the body.’  How nice.

Fast forward about an hour, and my husband was at my friends door to take our kids and I home.  I went straight to bed and stayed there until the next day.  I vividly remember telling my husband that I am happy to stick with ibuprofen as treatment for migraines for the rest of my life.

I am sure Imitrex and other drug treatments have thankfully been successful for many people.

I am the person that gets every random side effect with prescription drugs, including the antibiotics that were prescribed to me just last year that stated you may experience ‘psychotic episodes’.  How lovely, crawling out of my skin and not being able to sleep is a side effect to trying to get rid of bronchitis.  Lucky me.

I know my body is sensitive to prescription drugs, therefore I choose to be very careful before taking any.  I weigh out the side effects vs. benefits before I commit to taking anything, for fear of it negatively impacting my life.  This is why I felt it so necessary to try each and every thing I had ever read and learned about migraine relief and prevention before filling my Topamax prescription back in August of last year.

I am so thankful that up to this point it has not been necessary to fill that prescription.  I was literally sick reading through the possible side effects, preparing myself for all that were listed.    Although, that was the point I was at, the migraines had gotten so frequent and life impacting, the benefits of taking Topamax were winning the side effects battle of the two.  I don’t take for granted that my anti migraine potion has been successful for me.  And I’m not naive, there may be a day where I need to look at the benefits of another prescription that could overrule the possible side effects if my migraines were to change course or get worse again.

Here’s to having hope that I won’t need to fill prescriptions in the future with lists of side effects though!  Because I don’t know that I’ll keep getting invited over to friends houses if I continue to lay on their floor and puke when I arrive!


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