This post outlines my thoughts and experience re. medication delivery methods as a life long Chronic Migraine warrior; I’m not a medical expert! Obviously, all concerns and ideas re. medication should be discussed with your GP/Specialist.
A few members of my Migraine/Chronic Pain Warriors FB group are relatively new to the Chronic Life, so with people like them in mind, I’ve decided to share a small but important lesson I’ve learnt over the (too) many years I’ve lived with debilitating Migraine.
It’s a simple piece of advice: when a medication is being recommended to you, find out if it comes in different formulas and delivery methods. Does it come exclusively in tablet form or is it also available as a nasal spray, injection or wafer that dissolves on the tongue?
I think this is important information to obtain because the way the medication enters the blood stream can have an impact on how successful the treatment is for you. An example from my own life – Sumatriptan (an acute treatment to be taken as early as possible to abort a Migraine attack in progress). I found that the tablet form of this treatment was not effective for me at all; however, the version that is injected into the thigh IS effective. I’m not a doctor but my own GP confirmed my suspicion that by-passing the stomach is a key element in why the injections are so much better for me. My stomach gets actively involved in Migraine attacks and while it’s going crazy with the nausea & vomiting, it is neglecting it’s duty re. absorbing meds. While it is advised that a patient use their Triptan as early as possible during an attack, there is a limit to how many you can take; my Migraine is so extreme that it’s actually daily and sadly I can’t take a Triptan everyday! So I sometimes postpone taking it until later in an attack when I really feel that I HAVE to. The disadvantage of this is that the longer a Migraine attack goes on, the worse the nausea/vomiting is likely to be for me. So a delivery method that avoids the stomach becomes very important if I want to increase the chances of the treatment being effective.
I have also found Rizatriptan to be pretty effective in the dissolvable wafer form. This medication melts on the tongue; my misbehaving stomach is not being asked to do much (if any) work on the absorption front.
I realise that injections in particular are not everyone’s cup of tea but in my view, it can’t hurt to know what your options are. Sumatriptan for example is available in the form of a nasal spray; this is a good option to try if you want to change from the tablets but can’t quite face injecting yourself. The injection causes side effects that are immediate and very strange until you’re used to it but personally that’s a price I don’t mind paying for an effective treatment option.
It’s worth bearing in mind that certain forms of medications may not be flagged up to you if they are expensive to prescribe (sometimes an issue within the NHS and indeed with insurance providers in the U.S.) so it’s important to arm yourself with information.
Anti-Nausea meds are helpful to many people when trying to ensure that acute treatments in tablet form are properly absorbed but for me, methods that avoid the stomach entirely are definitely worth trying.
Have you found non-tablet forms of medication helpful?
Wishing you good luck and happy days,
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