Gabapentin for Migraine Prevention

Gabapentin is a drug that is approved to treat seizures in people with epilepsy. It is also approved to treat nerve pain from shingles, which is a painful rash caused by herpes zoster infection. It’s used off-label for migraine prevention.

Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. Anticonvulsants help calm nerve impulses. It is believed that this action can help prevent migraine pain.

This drug comes as a capsule, tablet, or solution. You take it by mouth. Gabapentin is available as the brand-name drugs Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant. It’s also available as a generic drug.

What is migraine?

A migraine is not just a headache. Migraines are usually more severe and last longer than headaches. Migraines can last as long as 72 hours. The major symptom of a migraine is pain that you usually feel on one side of your head. This pain is typically moderate or severe. Migraines also include other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to light and sound.

About 20% of people who have migraines experience an aura before the pain begins. An aura is a group of symptoms. You could have some or all of the following symptoms during a migraine aura:

  • Changes in your vision, such as seeing squiggly lines or having short-term, partial vision loss
  • Difficulty talking
  • Tingling or numbness of any part of your body

Migraine triggers

It is not known exactly why people have migraines. However, some people can track their migraine back to a certain trigger. Migraine triggers can include stress, lack of sleep, certain foods, and even hormone changes during a menstrual cycle.

Migraine prevention

Some people can prevent migraines by avoiding triggers. Others have prevented migraines successfully through relaxation techniques, acupuncture, or exercise. However, these therapies alone don’t work for everyone. Some people also need treatment with medication to reduce the number of migraines they have. The drugs used to prevent migraines are different from drugs that to treat migraines once a migraine starts. Drugs that prevent migraines, such as gabapentin, must be taken daily.

International and domestic studies that have evaluated Neurontin for migraine prevention suggest that it is effective. In a study of 63 patients with migraine (with or without aura), gabapentin significantly reduced migraine frequency and intensity among 30 patients who received it. In this study, adverse events were mild to moderate in severity.

Similarly, in a large study, 143 people with migraine received daily doses of Neurontin or placebo for 12 weeks. At the end of 12 weeks, the migraine rate had declined from 4.2 migraines before treatment to 2.7 migraines after treatment in those who received this drug.

This decrease was significantly greater than the decrease from 4.1 migraines to 3.5 migraines among those who received placebo. Of the 56 gabapentin recipients, 46% had at least a 50% reduction in the four-week migraine rate. Drug-related adverse events (sleepiness and dizziness) led to drug withdrawal in 13% of patients in the gabapentin group compared with 7% in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that this medication is an effective and well-tolerated preventive for migraine.

 

Migraine Headaches Relief

Not Every Migraine Headaches Relief Treatment Is The Same

If you’re considering treatment for migraine headaches relief, you should know there are a wide range of options available to you.

For the record, I’m no stranger to every sort of migraine headache treatment that’s out there. Some have worked fairly well, and other just FAILED MISERABLY.

So , with that said, I’ll try to wrap up neatly what I have learned over the course of my 10 year quest for migraine headaches relief.

The Drawbacks – Common Mistakes in Treatment For Migraine Headaches Relief

1) The Only Solution For Migraine Headaches Relief is Medication

If we become ill, we visit a doctor. The doctor prescribes medicine.

If this is the kind of mindset you have, then your solution for migraine headaches relief will be medication.

This solution will lead to 3 results:

Your current migraine headache will be immediately relieved

A disastrous cycle of headaches will rebound that will seem almost impossible to escape

You will end up frustrated with all medications for migraine headaches relief

2) Inability To Identify Triggers

Any good treatment for migraine headaches relief SHOULD begin with identifying your personal migraine triggers. But , in my experience, not one doctor I have ever consulted put the first emphasis on identifying my personal triggers.

And, in all of my years of experience, I have found this to be the ONLY effective migraine headaches relief CURE. Instead, each and every doctor gave me a prescription for one medication or another – many prescribing 2 or more drugs at the same time.

Over the course of 10 years, this has been the automatic treatment for migraine headaches relief from EVERY doctor I visited.

The FIRST step in any treatment for migraine headaches relief must be identifying and eliminating ALL of your personal triggers. This will benefit you much more than any medication EVER will.

3) Afraid of All Medications

If the alternative is blindly taking every medication prescribed, it’s better to avoid all medications.

But… an effective treatment for migraine headaches relief will include the occasional use of abortive migraine medication. Zomig, Axert, Imitrex are a few examples. In addition , Aleve will be periodically advised to give the Triptan, or abortive medication, an effective boost.

But if you are already following a treatment for migraine headaches relief that includes NO medication, this is much preferred than following a treatment with LOADS of migraine medication.

Not Questioning Your Treatment For Migraine Headaches Relief

We’re raised not to question doctors. It’s a rare doctor indeed that relishes in having his authority or judgment questioned.

This is especially so when you want to ask questions of your doctor after he prescribes your treatment for migraine headaches relief.

But your doctor is not the one that has to deal with the consequences of the plan of treatment. And he is well compensated for the few short minutes you get to bask in his presence. If a question comes to your mind, you need to ask it.

If you want to know why a particular medication is giving you certain reactions, then ask.

If you want to why you are suffering even more migraine headaches since the onset of your treatment for migraine headaches relief, that question needs to be asked as well.

If you are not satisfied with the answers and treatment you are getting from your current doctor, you shouldn’t hesitate to see another doctor.

Just like any other profession in this world, not all doctors have the same level of skill.

4) Not Trusting What Your Own Body Is Telling You About Your Treatment For Migraine Headaches Relief

When I was child, my parents instructed me to do as the doctor advised.

But after 10 years of taking medications for migraine headaches I realized a couple of things. The first was that the more medications I took for migraine headaches relief, the more frequent and severe my migraines became. The second thing I realized what that I had tried virtually medical treatment available.

I had not listened to what my body had been telling me all along.

See, if you can answer this one simple question: When was the last time you had a migraine headache and didn’t take a pill?

When was the last time you considered a natural treatment for migraine headaches relief?

You have the ability to decide which treatment for migraine headaches relief is right for you.

Summation

An effective treatment for migraine headaches relief requires a Triptan prescription that works best for you

But even these are not very often necessary if you follow a proper path for migraine headaches relief. The last thing you want is to get caught in the rebound cycle.

There is not one person is this world that should naturally suffer more than a few migraine headaches a month (even that is too much).

There is not one person in this world that should be taking pills every day as their treatment for migraine headaches relief.

There is a better way.

Understanding Silent Migraine

“Silent migraine” is an unusual name for a chronic illness. People are used to saying or hearing a scientific term when referring to a medical condition. Accordingly, the names of the different types of migraine give clue to its believed cause or source, or nature. Silent migraine, however , is a curious name because sound is not something associated that with migraine. Nevertheless, it is a disease that affects quite a number of people and for this reason, it needs to be understood.

Silent migraine is also known as acephalgic migraine, eye migraine, visual migraine, ocular migraine. Experts, however , refer to it as migraine aura without headache. To better understand it, one needs to be familiar with the four stages of a typical migraine attack. The initial stage is called the prodrome. It is the time when warnings of an attack start to appear, such as irritability or confusion, diarrhea, thirst and food cravings. The next phase is the aura, a time when visual symptoms are felt. During this stage, other physical manifestations could also arise. These include slurred speech, tingling sensations or numbness and difficulty in moving. The pain then proceeds after this phase, which could last up to seventy-two hours. When this is over, sufferers will feel very tired for a day or so. Not all migraineurs go through all the four stages during an attack. Some migraines occur without the aura and some have episodes without the pain. This is what happens with a silent migraine.

Like the other migraine types, silent migraine has its own set of symptoms consisting of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite or food cravings, thirst, fatigue, increased urination, chills, confusion, irritability and a feeling of euphoria. The most obvious symptom of silent migraine is the aura, which is a visual disturbance that is felt by the sufferer. When experiencing aura, he sees one or more of the following: wavy or jagged lines, flashing lights, dots and blind spots. Together with the aura, the patient might also go through distortions in sounds, smell or taste, numbness or tingling sensations in other parts of the body or speech difficulties.

Experts believe that a silent migraine is caused by abnormal nerve cell activity in the brain. Auras result when there is overstimulation and then depression of the activities of these nerve cells. The reduction of activity spreads across the brain, starting from the visual part to the other parts which affect bodily sensation and hearing. This chain reaction is started by certain events or substances called triggers. Identified triggers for silent migraine include stress, inadequate sleep, skipped meals, caffeine, alcohol, changes in weather, certain food, hormonal changes, bright lights and loud noises.

Mild or moderate attacks of silent migraine do not need treatment except rest. For more severe episodes, aspirin, beta-blockers and drugs classified as beta-agonist inhalant, are prescribed. Like the other forms of migraine, the best treatment is prevention the natural way. This involves no drugs but requires good self-care. This is the option that most migraine sufferers ought to consider.

Symptoms of Migraine

Migraine has also been referred to as a neurovascular headache due to the fact that one aspect of migraine development involves changes in the chemistry and diameter of the blood vessels that provides blood to the brain and the nerves in the neck and head.

How does migraine occur?

The common belief is that the sequence of occurrence of the migraine headache pains is as follows:

1 . First the blood vessels surrounding the brain becomes dilated and starting pressing on the adjacent nerves. It is still a mystery though on exactly how and why these blood vessels dilate although it seems that there is some form of chemical signal that is activating the pain sensors in the trigeminal nerve that runs from a location near the skull center, up and over the eyes and then towards the forehead.

2 . These stimulated nerve fibers then release fragments of proteins, known as neuropeptides, which cause the swelling and inflammation of the blood vessels.

3. The expansion of the blood vessels irritates the trigeminal nerve further, like a vicious cycle, resulting in the migraine headache pain.

Symptoms of migraine

A migraine attack typically goes through four distinct phases where the migraine sufferers will encounter certain migraine symptoms for each phase.

Prodrome phase

General symptoms experienced in the prodrome phase, also known as the preheadache phase, includes irritability, increased yawning, fatigue, mood swings and food cravings.

Aura phase

About 15% of migraine sufferers can experience an aura before the development of the migraine headache. Symptoms experienced are weakness or numbness on one side of the body, visual disturbances such as seeing blind spots and flashing lights, slurred speech and sensitivity to sound and light.

Headache phase

The migraine headache phase can usually last between 4 to 72 hours and is considered to be the most scary and painful phase. The symptom encountered is a throbbing headache where in about 60% of the cases, the headache occurs on only one side of the head. Other associated symptoms experienced includes diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness and tinnitus.

Postdrome phase

The postdrome phase is when the pain and other associated symptoms have resolved and most of the time the migraine sufferer just feel like wanting to be left alone. Common symptoms encountered in this phase are surge in energy, increased appetite, euphoria, fatigue and confusion.

Not all migraine sufferers will go through all the four phases though. An example is a person who is suffering from migraine without aura, will completely skip the aura phase during the migraine attack. It is important that we understand what is migraine and the symptoms of migraine indepth so that we can differentiate it from other types of headaches and be able to seek appropriate treatment.