Tuesday, May 26, 2009

News Item on Levadex

I don't think I've written about drugs in clinical trials, but I received an e-mail from the National Headache Foundation announcing that Levadex had successful Phase 3 trials (see this NY Times article), and this sounded different and intrigued me. In fact, I actually listened to a recording of the Webcast.

Levadex is a non-triptan abortive treatment for migraines. It's a new inhaled version of dihydroergotamine (DHE), which apparently is administered as an injection at the ER and can be taken as a prescription nasal spray called Migranal. Oddly, I'd never heard of Migranal. Has anyone tried it?

MAP Pharmaceuticals still needs to do another long-term follow-up study and other trials that will take about a year, but it sounds promising!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Background: I've been on some form of hormonal birth control since I was 17 or so, around the same time I started getting headaches. I was on it for cramps and because I had slightly irregular periods and heavy flow (which I'm going to have again soon, woohoo!). I started with different kinds of The Pill, and then Ortho Evra Patch, then nothing for a while because I suspected it was giving me headaches, but after maybe six months I didn't notice a difference, so then I went on The Pill without breaks for a period, which my neurologist suggested. Of course then I had break-through bleeding and bad headaches. Then my gyno talked me into getting a Mirena IUD for maybe two years, which you can read about here and most recently I had the Nuva Ring, which you can read about here.

So last week I took out my Nuva Ring (without my neurologist's permission; please don't get the impression that I'm saying this is right because it's NOT; I just got fed up and made a quick decision on my own). After a few days I got a light period and I've had some nausea and diarrhea which I'm guessing are withdrawal symptoms. I've still had headaches but I'm hoping they'll improve.

I've also been exhausted. I slept all day today and even missed church, which makes me sad. But God knows how I feel, and he understands. Plus, as my mom told me - it IS a "day of rest"! I haven't worked out in three weeks so I'm sure that's not helping.

I have a new theory, which I'll blog about soon, but for now I just wanted to put in writing that I'm never ever going on hormonal birth control again. My husband (who supports this decision) says I'm a broken record because I've said this before, but I mean it this time. My body does not like those crappy synthetic hormones, and I'm convinced that my headaches will improve as my cycle gets back to normal.

And no, I'm not planning on having kids any time soon, no offense, future kiddos.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Migraine with Aura

Try this: hold your hands in front of your face and spread your fingers. Move your hands in a circular motion. Now pretend each fingertip is a bright flashing light. Welcome to the world of auras.

I'd never been the "migraine with aura" type person until now. I had my second ever aura the other day. The first time it happened I talked myself into thinking I had looked at the light too long and it was my imagination. That was months ago, but the exact same thing happened again. If you're not familiar with aura, read this. I wanted to see if I'd get a migraine afterward so I didn't take any meds, and sure enough, the migraine came.

I still have slight doubts. The lights only lasted maybe 10 seconds. I get migraines or headaches all the time, so who's to say I wouldn't have had one anyway? Plus why don't I get an aura with every migraine? I'm a little freaked out and I kinda want to get an MRI, but I'm going to tell my neuro about it and see what she says. It sucks that I can't get an appointment until the new clinic opens in June.

Meanwhile, I'm tempted to stop all my meds and take out my Nuva Ring. I know that you shouldn't do that without a doctor, but I've been on Lyrica and Lexapro and birth control before and I know to go off them gradually (well not the birth control). My headaches are worse than ever, and I need to do something.

My current migraine is an 8 out of 10 and is heading toward 11, so I'm going to take my emergency concoction (Seroquel, Phenergan and Toradol) and go to bed.

*Update* The medicine combo knocked me out all day, and I slept until 4:30 in the afternoon. I didn't even call in to tell work I'd be out (they called me around 10 to make sure I was ok). I still have a slight headache, and I'm so fed up that I took out my Nuva Ring a few hours ago. No more hormonal birth control for me...my migraines are always worse with it. My neuro's going to be pissed...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My new headache clinic is changing

I received a letter in the mail saying that the neurologists at the Headache Clinic are breaking away from the hospital to start their own clinic.

This means that I am no longer a patient there because it appears that they don't have any other headache specialists. The letter said that I could have them transfer my records to the new place or I could visit two other nearby headache clinics, one in Greensboro (an hour away) and the other, ironically, is my former neurologist (neuro #4).

I've decided to have them transfer my records and I'm going to keep seeing the same neurologist because I want to try something different - perhaps alternative things such as biofeedback; or she might look further into why my sleep test showed some irregularities.

I'll keep you posted when I get a new appointment.