Do You Make this Medication Mistake?

There are some fairly healthy people who have a migraine condition – and they try a medication – and it works well – and life goes on.

I’m happy for you.

But some of us have spent more time looking for treatments that work.  But some of us spend more time than we should, because we make a classic mistake.

We don’t keep detailed records.

Most of us, if we have records at all, just have something like this:

I’ve tried

  • sumatriptan
  • propranalol
  • Depakene
  • Anti-depressant

Well, that’s a good start.  But there are some problems with that list.

You tried sumatriptan.  Brand name, or generic?  Did you know that it could make a difference which you tried?  Was it a nasal spray?  Or a pill?  Injection?  Or did you try all three at different times?

Getting a little disorganized?

Propranolol – that’s a generic name.  And you spelled it wrong. 😉 Was it Inderal?  Depakene – that’s a brand name for sodium valproate.  Was it actually Depakene you took?

Which anti-depressant?  Elavil?  Paxil?  Norpramin?  In what form?

This is very important, because another form of sumatriptan may work when this one didn’t.  One type of sodium valproate could help, while another doesn’t.

And what about other treatments?  Have you been for physiotherapy?  Have you seen the chiropractor?  Have you taken a magnesium supplement?

Detailed records will help your doctor know what to try next.  For example, you may have a better change trying a different form of what you’ve already taken, rather than trying something totally new.

So here are some suggestions of the information that you should have on hand to show a doctor or check yourself when the need arises.

  • Drug name
  • Manufacturer (especially if generic)
  • Dates used
  • Side effects (and how severe)
  • Benefits (if you have the dates, you may have this information in your headache diary)
  • Dosage(s)
  • Doctor who prescribed
  • Form (tablet, gel tab, injection, etc)
  • Preventative or abortive? (eg did you take this as a daily preventative, or when a migraine attack was starting?)

If possible, also include information such as what else you were taking at the same time.  It might be handy to snap a picture or scan the actual package of the medication or supplement to catch whatever info you’ve missed.

For those who are more or less new to medications, this may seem a little obsessive.  But the better your records, the better off you’ll be in the future.  For example, what if a treatment stops working?  What if one manufacturer makes slight changes to a medication?  What if you develop another condition which means you can’t take this medication anymore?  What if you change doctors, or your medical files are lost or damaged?  What if you have a severe attack and need to go to emergency – do you really want to rely on your memory and a few scribbled notes?

Keeping track as you go along sure beats trying to remember and locate the files and call the right doctor years later.

Trust me.  Been there.

How do you keep track of medications/supplements/treatments?  Any suggestions to help the rest of us?

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4 comments… add one
  • Lisa May 6, 2017

    Two great diaries I found recently are Migraine Buddy. I love that I can get the migraine start time recorded. I get multiplies throughout the day as the barometer changes. I use weather underground for that I screenshot the exact time it hits my head. I can add them all in the notes section of migraine buddy. The second is for medication and relevant info how often, dosage, pretty neat. Insurance, doctors names and numbers, pharmacists. I just got home yesterday from a 3 day stay and it was much easier handing the doctor my iPad. It puts everyone on the same page. The first time you use it you will be so glad you have documentation.

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