In case you missed it, there was a pretty good discussion about the migraine med Topomax in the comments of the Things I learned last week post. It worked well for some people, but the side effects could be quite spectacular (I shudder to think what would happen if my memory loss got any worse!).
I can particularly relate to the problem of aphasia that you guys mentioned because I have it as a side effect of another medication. Commenter “it’s not all bad” described what I go through as a result of that to a T (because they’ve gone through it as well):
oh yeah, speaking of memory loss from topamax, the one thing i hadin that area, was a little aphasia, where i was always having trouble thinking of *one* particular word in a sentence. it was really frustrating. i felt like i was always playing ‘Taboo’ with people, trying to get them to guess the word i couldn’t think of by defining it for them.
Exactly! I can’t wait to have my committee meeting while experiencing that little problem!
I think the most important thing to take away from the discussion is that you should always read up on the medications you are prescribed, particularly the list of side effects. Some doctors are really good at telling you everything you need to know and some doctors aren’t so much. You need to be proactive. Ask questions. Do your own research.
For instance, here’s part of a conversation I had while being examined by the neurologist. I’m at a teaching hospital, so I’m almost always seen by a resident first and then the attending.
[ATTENDING]: We’re going to give you a prescription for Elavil to help prevent your migraines.
[ME]: What kind of medication is that?
[AT]: It’s a tricyclic antidepressant.
[ME]: Is it okay for me to take that along with the other antidepressants I’m taking?
[AT] to Resident: What other antidepressants is she taking?
[RES]: Wellbutrin and Prozac
[AT] To me: You’re taking Wellbutrin AND PROZAC?!?!?!??!?!*
[AT]: Okay, well let’s give you something else, then.
In the end, I got a prescription for Gabapentin. It seems to be working so far–I’ve only gotten one headache since taking it. And it makes you sleepy so I take it at night instead of my sleeping med (so, no net gain or loss of pills).
The attending mentioned Topomax which is why I thought that’s what the sample was that he gave me. But, upon closer examination, I have found that it’s actually Treximet which is a combination of naproxen and imitrex. In any case, the ibuprofen works for my headaches which are usually not so severe as some of the commenters who took topomax.
It’s amazing to me how many people suffer from debilitating headaches (Zuska also comes to mind in addition to the commenters). I am constantly thankful that mine are very rarely that bad. I get about one a year where the pain is so bad I don’t think I can stand it, nothing helps, and I spend the day (or night because sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with one) vomiting. Not fun at all. I am so sorry some of you have to deal with that. And I’m sorry it can be so bad you have to experience nasty side effects in order to get relief from the pain.
*Could he have sounded anymore incredulous? Way to make me feel like a freak.