Medication holiday - any advice please

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Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  LizzieB on Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:43 pm

Hi. My doctor has insisted I take what he calls a chemical holiday in the New Year and is going to sign me off work for 2 weeks. I'm taking a triptan nearly every day and he's worried by it (so am I but I can't do without them).

At the weekend I was determined, come what may, not to take one and my husband hid the tablets. It's horrible I feel like a drug addict talking like this. By mid afternoon I had my own personal and quite rare 10/10 pain and nausea and caved in and took a tablet. As I'd left it so long, the migraine continued for a few hours and it was horrrendous.

So I am terrified of the tablet holiday looming in the New Year. Does anyone have any advice please on any way to handle this?

Thank you very much.
Liz
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Something Else instead?

Post  lesherb on Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:38 pm

Hi Liz,

Will your doctor prescribe you something else to take for your migraines? Perhaps you should suggest a pain med or maybe even a tranquilizer to calm you down for the 2 weeks.

What are his plans after the two weeks are up? Will he prescribe the triptans again? Maybe it's a good time to try a different one?

Good luck,
£eslie
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  Paradox on Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:40 pm

I did a two month chemical holiday last year and found it made little difference, other than having a horrendous couple of months.

Does he want you completely chemical free, or just triptans?

Charlotte (formerly Joan)
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  SEB on Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:17 pm

I have heard about people trying to go without triptans. I don't think I could do it, I would literally end up probably in the hospital. I get about anywhere from 8-12 migraines a month, but a couple of times a year I get a migraine that the triptans don't touch or are very slow to touch and it's such awful, mind numbing pain and all the other symptoms that go with it. From what I have read on this forum (I have been reading for about 6 months now, finally joined the other day) I haven't heard a break from triptans really doing anyone any good. I would really be interested to know the science behind it. Triptans, as far as I know, are not habit forming, and I just don't think I buy that it causes rebound migraines.

My neuro (who is also a migraine sufferer) has not suggested taking a triptan break, thank goodness. I wish you luck if you do try the two weeks, but I would definetly do some research on this and talk to the dr. again as to the reasons, benefits, etc. And I am only talking triptans, as the pain meds have never touched my migraines. I am with you though, I would be in a state of panic with no triptans.

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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  Richard on Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:02 pm

Many years ago, I thought these "vacations" were probably a good idea. I have "been" on several. Not a one did me a bit of good.

Do consult with your doctor about HOW you are to deal with this "holiday." I wish you the best.
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  LizzieB on Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:26 am

Hi and thank you so much for the comments and support. The doctor's reasoning is he's worried about the vascular effect, with the veins being constricted all the time and also my liver (not sure about that one). He's also convinced they may be causing rebounds. I know that's a controversial issue but I guess the only way I'll find out is to stop taking them for a while. And afterwards . . . I'm not sure, in an ideal world I'm hoping I'll go back to taking the triptans but fewer and maybe change to another one, I just don't know.

I came off Amitriptyline a while ago, perhaps I'll have to try another one. My jaw is continually rigid at the moment in anticipation (=terror!) of what's to come.

Many thanks again and I hope no-ones feeling too bad today.

I love all your pictures (I keep watching that gorgeous polar bear) but am not brave enough to post one. Perhaps I'll download one of the cat Very Happy

Liz
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  xmom on Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:33 am

I took a drug holiday last year for 2 weeks. It wasn't so bad.. made me realize that I wasn't in fact getting rebound headaches. However, in the end it did nothing for the frequency of my headaches.

You could see if your doctor could prescribe something like a short course of prednisone.. I have done this before to help break up long days of taking triptans.

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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  milobenji on Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:13 am

i also took a drug holiday, and it was bad but afterwards it became okay, i dont touch triptans now because they dont work for me, so there is light at the end of the tunnell. dont become an addict, stay strong
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  theresae on Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:39 am

hi i have had 2 drug holidays, but both times i started a preventative or upped the preventative that i was already on, so i dont know if that counts, i have just sent pen a reply about breaking the cycle of a continuous migraine, have a look and see if there is anything that could be of use to you, i would speak again with gp and see if he meant for you to go cold turkey or was he going to provide you with something to help, keep in contact with him/her so you dont feel so alone when you do this, most of us have been there so you arent on your own, xx
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  LizzieB on Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:43 pm

Hi and thanks again for all the advice.

The trouble is, the doctor is determined I should be totally drug free for a short while, which sounds a good idea in theory but I can see the sense in taking something else to numb the effect. I'm going to go back to him between Christmas and New year and have a good chat. I haven't got enough tablets to last until the 'holiday' ha ha starts anyway.

Hope you're all OK.

Liz
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You are very brave.

Post  pen on Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:00 am

Liz,
I believe I see you on MAA forum as well. I have very mixed views about the medication breaks.
Many try, some find help, many more end up right where they started having gone through hell. With respect, (and not personal) if you can manage without the med, why are you taking it in the first place......seems a very hard thing to do. How many of us would do this to ourselves if we felt we had an alternative??? Crying or Very sad

We are always being blamed for making ourselves worse because of the medication.
I dont know of any other pill pushing condition that has to endure this.....Why is it just us....
I am not saying it isnt a problem it will surely be for some people, but Andy Dowson told me it was about 5%....
If that is true then what is wrong with the rest of the 95% of us....

I wish you luck Liz, and admire your courage and strength.
As you will have grasped, I am in a big mess, but I keep giving in to the pain relief and have been advised by MAA to take them for now because
untreated pain is harder to deal with....
Confused... Question Me too.
About time somebody made some proper sense of all this instead of making us even more stressed by trying to be both patient and doctor.
Good luck m'dear. Keep us posted, and don't wreck your Christmas. There's always next year...
Pen
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  LizzieB on Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:19 am

Hi Pen, yes it's the same me! When the revamped MA site started up again, the forum was never the same and I really missed the contact and support. It so helps knowing there are others out there in a similar situation. And there are bucket loads on here Smile . Thank you to everyone. Our lives are all so diverse, yet we've all got this common monster to deal with Crying or Very sad

It is confusing I agree but maybe I am one of those 5% and will never know until I try. Like you I hate it each time I take a triptan, especially as I've got other symptoms which they could be aggrevating or causing (pains in chest and back, etc). I'm just emerging from one at the moment and if it wasn't for the triptan, I'd still be lying down upstairs and our poor bare santa tree santa which my husband put up a while ago would still not get decorated. You have to take them to exist.

I'm sorry you're going through such a bad time too - it would be great if someone could make some sense of it but I don't think they know themselves. Like so many illnesses, they know half of it but not the whole story.

Let's hope we may all have some respite at Christmas santa

Liz
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  LizzieB on Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:04 am

I must just add something my GP said. He's generally very good and I respect him. However after I'd reacted to his insistence of a drug holiday by shock and I'm afraid a few tears, he said 'play some music or something' Shocked Shocked Shocked

He admitted he'd never had a migraine.

Liz rendeer
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  Anna on Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:29 am

Play music?

Sounds like the doctor who told me to go fishing or something. Um, yeah. (Besides the fact that I'm a vegetarian!)

Does anyone have any references to studies that prove rebound is a real thing?

Anna
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ignorant advice.

Post  Norma on Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:50 am

A delightful, but old fashioned neurologist once told me that I should take long walks and get my husband to help more with the house and kids. He was actually a very intelligent and deep thinking person, and I respected him, but he just did not know chronic severe pain.

Norma

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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  pen on Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:25 pm

Anna wrote:Play music?

Does anyone have any references to studies that prove rebound is a real thing?

Anna

Far as I know the answer to that is No Anna.
I am sure someone will tell me otherwise...

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Rebound

Post  Mule Kick on Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:12 am

I don't know about rebound with any of the Triptans; but I do know that I definately had rebound headaches on Ibuprofen. The Ibuprofen was perscribed for some pains other than headaches. The only pain that the Ibuprofen relieved was the rebound headaches that it caused.
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Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  daniesyarden on Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:52 am

I read all the review of all these people and seriously fantastic work that you do on this post...This post is quite impressive or the people that have no knowledge about this medication or also don't know the benefits of this,are capable to know about this..Nice post..!!
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  Jen E on Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:29 pm

I'm going to be blunt.  That is like sending someone into a pit of hungry lions wearing a meat suit!  All he is taking away is the relief you are getting from a headache you know is coming anyway!  Without something in place to PREVENT a migraine, this is doing nothing but setting you up for misery.  When the "holiday" is over, you will still be getting the migraines because triptans don't prevent them, they only treat them.  I get the reasoning to give your body a chemical break, but this plan as is, is extremely ill advised.  I am a person who has avoided meds at all costs until just this year when my M's started to get out of control with frequency and I would personally refuse this and get another doctor.  Best of luck to you.  <3

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Old Thread

Post  Mule Kick on Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:11 pm

The majority of this thread was written in December of 2009.
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Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  Cookie Monster on Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:52 pm

Hi Lizzie,

What a horrible situation to be in. You have every right to be feeling anxious. I have never had a doctor suggest that I take a break from the meds that are working for me... quite the opposite - my doctors are usually trying to convince me to take additional meds while I hold off as long as possible. I am fortunate enough to have a neurologist who gets migraines and therefore understands my situation and an excellent family doctor who has known me since I was a kid so I guess that helps.

I am currently getting migraines anywhere from 20-25 days per month but I have reduced my triptans to about 5 times a month (compared to 8-12). I only take them when I am really really desperate. I would like to say that this has had a positive effect on my health but I think it is actually the opposite. I find that when I don't take the abortive meds when I really need them, my whole body hurts and it can take me a good day or two to recover. Also, I've been much more fatigued of late. I can now sleep for 10 hours a night and then take a two hour nap in the afternoon if a migraine starts up. I have had more depressive episodes lately as well even though I am taking an anti-depressant.

My advice to you would be to do some research on natural alternatives to get you through those two weeks... tiger balm, acupuncture, massage, cold packs, etc. While you are making those preparations, maybe you could look into getting a new doctor? I do see the value in trying to lower your meds once in a while but it would be so much better if it were your choice. I wish you luck.

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Medication holiday - any advice please

Post  alenamital on Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:23 am

I'm always waiting for the holiday whenever i visit the different place with my family..The days were really important to me when i'm still with my friends or family or makes the holiday so memorable..!!
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Old Thread

Post  Mule Kick on Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:03 pm

The majority of this thread was written in December of 2009, over 4 years ago.
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Re: Medication holiday - any advice please

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