Hyper-sensitivity to medication

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After something like thirty years of chronic daily migraine, a neurologist recently took me off co-codamol (paracetamol and codeine) with which I've medicated a daily headache on waking with reasonable results for those thirty years, rebound headaches replacing the more unpleasant daily migraines. The small daily amount of codeine also took care of hay-fever allergies and IBS whch have both returned.

The trouble is I'm also hyper-sensitive to medications in general and the first 100mg dose of Gabapentin taken in the evening left me flat out the whole of the following day. I can't imagine increasing the dose in a few days time. Has anybody expereince of preventive medications that have had low side effects, particularly with regard to drowsiness. The neurologist wants me to try Gabapentin for a few months (if I can tolerate it that long) and then try Candesartan. To be honest the last two months+ have been a nightmare with coming off codeine and then going back to the chronic daily migraines. A large part of me wants to go back to the co-codamol. I functioned then far better than any time since and the morning rebound headaches weremore tolerable. After one tablet I was usually okay for the rest of the day. Not perfect but bearable and functional.

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  • Posted

    Wow...I'm hypersenstive to medication as well....and suffer from migraines but not as frequently as you do.  Why did they take you off a medication that was working for you? 

    I think I have hay fever too...I have been feeling really lousy.

    ​Gabapentin....my Dr. put me on the low dose of 100 mg too...and I was AFRAID to take it and didn't take it for 7 days after I picked up the prescription.

    ​But to my surprise...it didn't do a thing for me...and I didn't have negative effects or side effects.  BUT now...she has raised the dose to 300mg 3x a day.  I haven't even tried one yet...I'm terrified it will knock me on my a**...

    ​Again why are you off the co-codamal?

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  • Posted

    For one thing doctors don't like codeine, it being an opiate and potentially addictive, though they do prescribe low doses for IBS and I've never desired to take more than I need. I was taking 8-24mg a day when the max daily dose is 300mg, I believe. For another, all painkillers create more headaches known as rebound or medication induced headaches, especially codeine. So they would rather uses preventitive medication to stop the headaches. If I can't tolerate these medications though because of excessive drowsiness, I would rather tolerate the rebound headaches produced by codeine and have most of the day free of pain, than be drowsy or take nothing at all and have day-long migraines every day. 
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    • Posted

      Will they give you the option of returning to the drug that worked for you?

      ​I get that you didn't abuse them...I wish they would get it.....I take an anxiety medication and every time I switch Drs they talk about taking me off them....I NEVER abuse them and take a very low dose and they help me.....after they get to know me....I end up staying on them....but yup...Drs are scared of the ramifications of prescribing addictive medications...and us that need it and don't abuse it pay the price.

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  • Posted

    Happily, if I decide to return to co-codamol, I don't need a prescription. I will make the decision. Codeine and Paracetamol can do liver and kidney damage if taken in excess but the dose I take is generally low. Besides which it appears that Gabapetin and Candesartin can do the same. And to be honest Codeine has been around a long time and is understood well. I'm a mite bit suspicious about newer drugs and their long term effects. But, at the same time, if I could find a preventative drug that doesn't give me side effects, mainly the drowsiness, then I would be happy to consider it.
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  • Posted

    OP, I'm sorry I don't have any experience of the drug you're asking about, but have you tried Propranolol for migraine prevention?  Since starting on Propranolol 3 months ago I've had 2 migraines in total instead of the usual 5 to 6 a month.

    I'm sorry you're having migraines every day, I can't imagine how awful that must be.  I hope you find something that works for you.

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  • Posted

    It's a beta blocker isn't it? I recognised the name. i think I tried it about 20 years ago when i saw a neurologist In Vancouver when I was living there for a time. She took me off codeine but couldn't find a drug I tolerated. And my sensitivity is worse now.
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  • Posted

    Wow, you've had this problem for a long time, haven't you?

    The more I read this board, the more I think that modern medicine doesn't seem to have much of a clue about migraine.   I wish you luck, OP.

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  • Posted

    Hi  I had chronic headaches and migraines for years and tried everything in the book and went to Headache and Migraine clinic on and off .  Tried contraceptive pills and hormone treatments,  Naproxen, Aspirin, Parecetemol, Co-codamol, Codeine, Ibuprofen, Ametripteline, Cafergot, Triptans (Zomig, Immigran, Zolmitriptan), Sanomigran, Migraleve, Tolfenamic Acid and then they tried me on anti-epilepsy stuff like Topiramate and Gabapentin.  All I can say is the side effects are worse than anything and they are not worth it.  I came off these myself (after ending up taking 5 months of work due to side effects and recovery time).  The codeine was probably starting to cause you IBS.   3 years ago I would have 20-25 migraines a month.  I found out my daughter was coeliac and decided to try coming off all gluten (despite my coeliac screening test being negative).  I came off everything for 6 weeks and started to notice a reduction in headaches, less bloated stomach and constipation, less aching in my back and neck and I had energy as I have never had much stamina what with all the headaches.  I am nearly a year off gluten and probably only have 1-3 migraines a month (just hormonal ones) and only if I accidentally eat gluten.  Although its a big change in eating habits and not ideal, my improved health has affected all areas of my life.  It may do nothing for you, but worth a try and I don't have to take any of those awful meds with hideous side effects.
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  • Posted

    I was put on gabapentin for rheumatoid arthritis, which I was misdiagnosed with. The side effects were awful. I understand it is also used for seizures. There's no way I could function on that. Unfortunately I don't have any new suggestions. As an allergy sufferer I take my allergy pills daily and pray any headache doesn't develope into a migraine. It's a crap shoot.
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  • Posted

    Mike,

    Sorry to hear you are going through this when you've found something to let you function at least part of the time.

    I too am sensitive to medications. I've suffered from migraines for almost 10 years now.

    I've tried several preventatives that made me too drowsy, unaware of my surroundings, or have cognative function issues. Gabapentin, Topiramate, higher doses pf Propranolol, and Zonegran.

    I've tried Citalopram, and Amitriptyline I tried early on, I don't recall any side effects or that they made any difference.

    Currently I am taking Lamotrigine 125 mg but still titrating up to a goal of 200 mg. I have not noticed any side effects with the exception of some strange dreams during my first week or two of taking the medication. This medication has lowered the severity of my headaches but not reduced number of headache days, still an improvement. The most important thing with this medication is to go up in dose VERY SLOWLY due to a serious rash side effect that can occur called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. A rash should be checked out asap if it develops.

    I am also beginning trigger point injections of lidocaine, marcaine, and a steroid. It is too early to tell if they are helping because I am still in pain from all the injections.

    Good luck in finding relief, and if you don't need a prescription for the other and you try a few other options without luck you may need/want to go back to the old product.

    Jenn

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  • Posted

    Thanks for your replies. The codeine was definitely setting down my IBS symptoms . . . and my allergies and an irritating cough. They've all come back. As regards food, I went through testing while in Canada and live a very restricted diet already. I'm gluten and dairy intolerant, so all such foods are out and I also stay off nearly all known migraine triggers like chocolate etc. There's a limit to how much I can reduce my diet any more. I've not worked regularly for a long time now, my track record making me a very unreliable employee and while studying for a degree (a difficult experience) I was categorised as disabled by the university!! I think that's a good way of putting it. I'll look up other medications you mention but I think sensigtivity and drowsiness is nearly always going to be a major problem. I've been on the minimum dose of Gabapentin, 100mg, for three days and can barely right never mind speak coherently. The idea of increasing the dose is frankly laughable right now. After nine weeks of terrible pain and discomfort I think I'm ready to give up and return to codeine . . . hoping that I'm not going to be hyper-sensitive to that now.
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  • Posted

    BTW has anyone any practical experience of the pain-killer called Midrid though it comes under other names. It contains paracetamol and a drug that narrows the blood vessels in the brain, migraines often coming from dilated vessels. It comes in small packs so maybe it isn't intended for regular daily use.
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  • Posted

    I saw the doctor today after a week of reacting badly to the lowest dose of Gabapentin, 100mg. ALL the preventative drugs I've tested over the years have given me bad side effects at low doses. And since I can't tolerate anti-inflammatory pain-killers, the doctor has given me a prescription for co-codamol suggesting that, while it is a compromise, codeine does seem to be the best option for me. Incidentally, I read that those taking codeine for headache/migraine rarely have problems with addiction, craving for the drug and drug abuse. I've been taking it for twenty years plus and rarely have taken more than 30mg of codeine in a day.
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