Experts Advise Against Taking Migraine Drugs Or Painkillers Before Getting The Vaccine
Thereâs a lot of debate, even within the scientific community, about whether a person should take a medication as a preventive measure to ease side effects before getting the vaccine and particularly about what effect medications could have on the immune response, says Estemalik.
A study published in January 2021 in the Journal of Virologyfound that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may reduce the production of antibodies and affect the immune response to the virus itself.
The CDC recommends against the use of pain relievers before the vaccine shot.
Estemalik agrees. In my opinion, people should not premedicate with any medication before taking the vaccine. That would include any migraine treatment or over-the-counter painkillers, he says.
Strauss suggests making sure youre fully hydrated before getting the vaccine. This may help not only with any potential headache, but also with dizziness, another possible side effect, she says.
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What Can My Doctor Do To Help Me
If pain-killers are not effective, your doctor can prescribe a number of different treatments including anti-sickness drugs that help the painkillers to work more effectively, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers and triptans.
If acute treatment is inadequate to control symptoms, hormonal prophylaxis may be considered. Although there are no data from clinical trials to support the following suggestions, they are widely used in practice.
Changing the way you take your pill. There are two options which can be used separately or in combination. The tri-cycle regimen where three consecutive hormone cycles are taken followed by a hormone-free interval. This means that you would have only five such migraines a year instead of thirteen. In some countries CHC pills are licensed for a 91-day cycle of 84 days of pill-taking followed by a 7-day break, resulting in only 4 pill-free intervals a year. The 4-day break where instead of taking 21 days of the pill followed by a 7-day withdrawal period, you break the cycle for 4 days. This has been shown in trials to reduce the fall in oestrogen levels and can lessen the likelihood of a menstrual migraine from occuring.
Hormones And Migraine Without Aura
The symptoms of migraine without aura include vomiting, nausea, and light sensitivity, but you wont experience visual or sensory disruptions before the onset of an episode.
There are fewer risks for people using birth control with a combination of hormones if you have migraine without aura. This is because migraine without aura isnt associated with the same increased risk of stroke.
Hormonal birth control pills may cause migraine episodes in the week leading up to your period. This is because these pills contain fewer hormones or no hormones at all at that point in the cycle.
You can overcome these migraine episodes in several ways:
- You may find that your migraine episodes decrease the longer you take the pill.
- You may be able to switch to a pill that delivers a continuous level of hormones throughout your cycle.
- You may be able to eliminate the week of pills without hormones and take birth control pills that contain hormones continuously.
Talk with your doctor about these options if birth control seems to trigger your migraine episodes.
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Are There Different Kinds Of Migraine
Yes, there are many forms of migraine. The two forms seen most often are migraine with aura and migraine without aura.
Migraine with aura . With a migraine with aura, a person might have these sensory symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before an attack:
- Seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots
- Numbness or tingling in the face or hands
- Disturbed sense of smell, taste, or touch
- Feeling mentally “fuzzy”
Only one in five people who get migraine experience an aura. Women have this form of migraine less often than men.
Migraine without aura . With this form of migraine, a person does not have an aura but has all the other features of an attack.
How Mobile Phones May Cause Migraines
Mobile phone use involves several factors that can contribute to headaches, including looking at the light on the screen, straining your eyes, bending over in a stooped posture, using your hands and fingers to type or play games, and using the phone to make phone calls.
All of these activities have been shown to contribute to migraines and their associated symptoms. Correcting the problem requires a number of strategies, including:
- Adjusting the light on your screen so it’s not too bright
- Adjusting the font size on your phone to avoid eye strain
- Being sure to vary your position
- Considering using dictation for emails and texts
- Taking a break when your fingers or hands feel strained
- Using the speakerphone setting when possible instead of holding the phone to your ear
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Visual Impairments Associated With Migraine Can Happen With Or Without A Headache
Ocular Migraine is a term that has been used to refer to a number of migraine subtypes that are characterized by a variety of visual disturbances including visual loss, blind spots, zig-zag lines, or seeing stars. Unlike other forms of migraine, they may occur without any accompanying head pain. Its not uncommon for a single patient to experience a wide range of visual symptoms. Heres what you need to know to better understand the migraine subtypes that affect vision.
Ive Got Migraine And I Want To Take The Combined Pill Is It Safe
For the majority of women CHCs are highly effective and safe methods of contraception. There can be some added health benefits such as reduced risk of womb, ovarian and bowel cancers, lighter menstrual periods and relief from premenstrual symptoms. Some women even take CHCs to help treat menstrual migraine. However, for a minority of women, including those who have migraine with aura, CHCs are associated with an increase in the risk of stroke. Fortunately, the actual likelihood of a stroke occurring in a young women with migraine with aura who takes the pill is extremely low. It is also an avoidable risk since most contraceptives that do not contain oestrogen are at least as effective as CHCs and some are more effective.
So how great is the risk? Imagine a group of 100,000 women, all under 35, who do not have migraine and who dont take CHCs. Only around one of those women is likely to have an ischaemic stroke within the next year. If the same group of women started on CHCs, of them are at risk of an ischaemic stroke within the next year. If all 100,000 women had migraine with aura and took CHCs, around 28 would be at risk. The risk of having a stroke is low even if you have migraine and take the pill and is likely to be even lower if you do not smoke or have high blood pressure. However, as the risk is directly related to the oestrogen in the CHCs, it can be avoided by using non-oestrogen methods of contraception.
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Nonprescription Treatment Options For Migraine
Emily M. Ambizas, PharmD, MPH, CGPAssociate Clinical ProfessorCollege of Pharmacy & Health SciencesQueens, New YorkClinical Specialist, Rite Aid PharmacyWhitestone, New York
Alberto H. Ambizas, PharmD, CGPClinical Pharmacy SupervisorNorthport, New York
US Pharm. 2016 41:31-34.
Migraine headache is a common, debilitating condition affecting nearly 1 out of 7 Americans annually.1 This condition affects more women than men, and prevalence is highest during peak productive years, between the ages of 25 and 55 years.2 Migraine accounts for the majority of the 5 million headache visits to U.S. emergency departments annually.3 It has a major impact on quality of life more than 90% of migraine sufferers find it difficult to work or function normally during an attack, accounting for more than 150 million missed worked days, with an annual cost to employers exceeding $14 billion.4,5 In addition, migraine headache is ranked as the sixth highest cause of disability worldwide.6
Pharmacists are in a unique position to help care for patients suffering from migraines. They are often the first healthcare professionals that patients will encounter when seeking relief for their migraine as many as 57% of patients self-medicate with OTC products.7 It is important for pharmacists to understand when and how to use OTC products for the management of migraines as well as when patients require referral to their healthcare provider.
What Are The ‘red Flags’ That My Visual Symptoms Are Not Due To Migraine
The typical symptoms of a visual migraine are positive, meaning that there is something shimmering or sparkling that is disrupting the vision. Migraines are less likely to cause “negative” symptoms of pure visual darkness. An episode of visual darkness typically requires additional evaluation for other conditions, including a mini-stroke .
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Other Birth Control Risks
Birth control in any form carries risks. Some birth control methods are less effective than others and can result in pregnancy. Also, not all birth control prevents sexually transmitted infections .
In addition to being a possible trigger for migraine episodes, hormonal birth control may have certain side effects, including:
How Common Are Headaches From Computer Screens
It is likely that we all have dealt with the following scenario at one time or another:
The unfortunately truth is that headaches or migraine attacks from the computer screen are a common occurrence, but researchers have had a difficult time pinpointing just how widespread it is for the general population. Most often it is linked to computer vision syndrome, or CVS for short, which specifically refers to visual and other symptoms that result from screen exposure and which may affect as many as 90% of computer users.2
Among those with CVS symptoms, headache is frequently cited as the most prevalenteven though, ironically, it is not directly related to the eye. Researchers from across the globe have found that between 19% to 53% of those with extended exposure to their PC or laptop screen suffer headaches as a frequent side effect in many cases, recurring headache symptoms lasted a week or more.1,4,10 Workers who specifically use the computer as a primary function of their job have also been found to have more headache episodes, although just a few hours of constant use for an extended time period can have the same effect.1,3
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I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle
More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.
How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.
Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.
Treatment Options During Pregnancy
Certain medications used for migraine treatment and prevention are contraindicated for pregnancy, due to safety concerns for the developing fetus. For patients who use oral contraceptives to regulate their hormone levels and manage migraine, having a conversation about migraine treatment options may happen when they want to go off of birth control and start trying to conceive. The good news is there are safe options for migraine prior to and during pregnancy.
Im always telling my patients, either preconception or patients that are pregnant, that we recommend in general to use the number of different medications for anything that were treating, Dr. Grossman says. And also, of course, the lowest dose possible that we can use in pregnancy and preconception is what we recommend. Her first-line treatment is non-medication options, and she then layers in other treatments as needed.
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Whats A Migraine What Does It Feel Like
A migraine is more than a bad headache. Its a neurologic disease with a series of symptoms that might include debilitating pain on one side of your head that you may describe as pulsing or throbbing. Menstrual migraines, also known as hormone headaches, happen right before or during a womans period and may get worse with movement, light, smells, or sound. Your symptoms may last for a few hours, but theyll likely last days.
Its estimated that 70% of people who experience migraines are women. Of these women, 60% to 70% report a connection between their menstruation and their migraine attacks. Women experience migraine attacks three times more frequently than men.
A menstrual migraine is one of several types of migraine headaches. Examples of other migraines include migraine with aura, migraine without aura and chronic migraine.
What Is Migraine Exactly
You may think of a migraine as a really bad headachebut the pain that accompanies it is far more severe. Migraine is actually a neurological disease. During an attack, groups of your brain cells become overactive, your blood vessels narrow, and blow flow to your brain shifts, which may contribute to the onset of symptoms, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. To be diagnosed, you have to experience the attacks repeatedly, which means having at least five excruciating headaches lasting 4 to 72 hours each per month, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Migraine has specific hallmarks to distinguish it from everyday headaches: The pain usually throbs, pounds, and/or pulses . This is usually accompanied by an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, which gets worse with physical activity. Migraine can also cause sensitivity to light, noise, and smells.
Migraine headaches can be brought on by triggers and these can vary wildlyanything from specific foods to stress to dehydration can spur an attack. However, not all migraine episodes have triggers, and if they do, you might not know what your individual triggers are. The headaches often feel dull and achy when they begin and gradually become more severe, eventually causing intense, throbbing pain. At their worst, migraine can make your whole head, face, jaw, and neck pulsate with pain.
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When Are Opioids Or Butalbital Useful For Migraines
Your doctor may suggest an opioid if none of the treatments listed above help, or if you have bad side effects.
It is not clear if butalbital should be used at all for treating migraines. If your doctor prescribes butalbital for your migraines, ask why. And ask if there are any other drugs that would work.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Bad Tension
Compared with migraine, tension-type headache is generally less severe and rarely disabling. Compare your symptoms with those in this chart to see what type of headache you might be having.
|Aura before onset of headache||x|
Note: Rebound headache may have features of tension and/or migraine headache. Adapted from a table produced by the American Council for Headache Education.
Although fatigue and stress can bring on both tension and migraine headaches, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body’s hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.
There also are differences in how types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. Although some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension-type headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension-type headaches for most people.
You can’t tell the difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache by how often they occur. Both can occur at irregular intervals. Also, in rare cases, both can occur daily or almost daily.
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Service Connection Of Migraines
Migraines are one of the more prevalent claimed disabilities among Veterans. It is currently ranked 8th in most prevalent disabilities in new compensation claims. Studies suggest that approximately 36% of those returning from Iraq experience migraine type headaches. Another study showed that of those suffering from migraine type symptoms, about 22% showed symptoms of anxiety, 50% showed symptoms of depression, and almost 40% had symptoms of PTSD. The exact causes of migraines remain unknown, but there are links.
There are several injuries that can occur in active duty that might be linked to migraine headaches. Traumatic brain injuries such as exposure to explosives, extremely loud noises, and actual head injuries are leading factors in migraines. However, there are now links to exposures to chemicals such as burn pits and chemical solvents. There may also be secondary links such as the neck, eye, or back injuries, fibromyalgia, and mental health issues. There can also be other secondary issues from the migraines such as sleep disorders, chronic mental health issues such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Detailed information on how migraines are rated can be found here.
Treatment For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
In general, migraine treatment with medicines should be limited as much as possible when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Instead, trying to identify and avoid potential migraine triggers is often recommended.
If medicine is essential, your GP may prescribe you a low-dose painkiller, such as paracetamol.
In some cases, anti-inflammatory medicine or triptans may be prescribed.
Speak to a GP or your midwife before taking medicine when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Page last reviewed: 10 May 2019 Next review due: 10 May 2022
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