As a migraineur, it’s easy to feel bound by the uncertainty of your condition. When will the next migraine episode occur? How severe will the pain be? How long will it last?The luckiest of sufferers eventually find a treatment plan that works to reduce pain, frequency and duration or thwart the onset of an attack altogether. Luckier still are those who actively participate in minimizing uncertainty by keeping a migraine diary that tracks diet, activity, medication intake and symptoms. But because modern medicine is still working to understand the root cause of chronic migraines, uncertainty is never fully eliminated.
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It’s not unheard of for migraine medications to suddenly stop working or dramatically decreased in efficacy without warning. However, there are ways for migraineurs to recover from such a blow to their pain management strategy. Here are 5 things to do when your migraine medication stops working:
1. Take a Deep Breath and Start Planning
First and foremost, don’t panic. Losing your cool won’t help the situation and could influence the onset of a migraine attack. Instead, take a deep breath and start to devise a game plan for how you will proceed. Brainstorm a to-do list comprised of all the actions you can take to find out why your medication stopped working and what your new treatment options include. The following points made in this article can serve as the first several tasks on your to-do list.
2. Immediately Communicate with ALL Physicians
The first task on your to-do list should be to communicate with all physicians involved in your care. This is extremely important, as you should not change any element of your treatment regimen without consent and input from a medical professional (particularly those most familiar with your history). Your physicians will be able to provide you with insight as to why your migraine medication might have stopped working and will likely be able to recommend a new course for treatment.
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Review Migraine Diary
If your migraine medication suddenly stops working, the answer may lie within the pages of your migraine diary, which should be filled with details regarding your diet, sleep, activity level, medication consumption and symptoms. A well-executed track record will allow you to quickly identify if something related to diet or behavior could be influencing the sudden change in drug efficacy. As you speak with your physician, let them know if anything has changed in your daily routine. Recap your exact medication consumption over the last several days or weeks and rule out possibilities like an overload of migraine triggers that could be counteracting migraine medication or over-use of a medication that could be influencing more severe and frequent attacks.
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Review Prescription Details
Another excellent way to source the root of your migraine medication malfunction is to review all prescription details to confirm that you have been taking prescription and over-the-counter medications precisely according to direction and in such a way that does not counteract with one another. You’ll also want to confirm that your diet or supplement intake isn’t interfering with the active ingredients in your medications. As you review your medications, consult with your physician or a trusted pharmacist to help you understand how each medication works in conjunction with other factors.
Accept That Medication Changes May Be Necessary
Mentally prepare for the fact that what once was, may never be again. It is absolutely possible that your body has simply stopped responding to the medication and a new prescription will be necessary. Be open to trying something new and don’t let the change influence stress or anxiety. Perhaps a new medication will work even better than the last. You’ll never know unless you give it a try.
A sudden interruption to your chronic migraine pain management regimen can be extremely frustrating but having a game plan in place will make the situation a lot less overwhelming. Take a deep breath and try to keep calm. Call all treating physicians and describe what’s going on. Carefully review your migraine diary and prescription details to determine if the cause of your reaction to medication is due to improper use or some other type of variable and remember – a change in your course of treatment might be the only viable remedy. As you seek resolution, consider reaching out to a support group with individuals that likely understand what you’re going through and don’t be afraid to depend on family and friends as you navigate a new path for pain management.
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