Migraine and Severe Motion Sickness

Migraine and motion sickness and dizziness often go together – that’s no secret.  Many migraineurs suffered from motion sickness when they were younger, many experience it now.

Migraine and Motion Sickness

That doesn’t mean that the motion sickness is going on at the same time as a typical migraine attack.  Of course, nausea is a very common migraine symptom.

But migraineurs actually often experience motion sickness when they’re not having a migraine attack.

Or… are they?

Just how and how much migraine impacts all of our lives is a matter of a lot of discussion.  But an interesting new study, though small, may provide another answer to that question, and it may help those migraineurs who experience extreme motion sickness.

A group of doctors in Pittsburgh, USA, ran a study to see if they could help migraineurs who had motion sickness with…

A common migraine drug.

In this case, it was rizatriptan (Maxalt), one of many triptan type drugs which are abortives for migraine.

Almost 87% of the migraineurs tested responded to the rizatriptan treatment.

So… could it be that the migraine symptoms are really more spread out in our lives that we think?

More tests need to be done (again, this was a very small study), but it looks very likely that not just Maxalt but other triptans will help patients with motion sickness.

Now, there are a couple more things you need to be aware of.  First, the ultimate goal is not to have you take more and more medication.  You will have to talk this over very carefully with a specialist to see if this is the answer for you.

Second, these patients were pretreated with rizatriptan.  This is for patients with severe motion sickness that have unavoidable travel, to take something before they go.

Migraine is not just a once-in-a-while-headache.  It has an impact on your whole life.  Making the connection between migraine and motion sickness will help us understand both conditions better, and help us treat them both.

Study Rizatriptan reduces vestibular-induced motion sickness in migraineurs.
Comments from Dr. A Mauskop

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6 comments… add one
  • Emily Oct 6, 2010

    Wow, explains the car sickness that I had all during my childhood!

  • Beth Oct 8, 2010

    Bingo! This is totally me. My migraines are completely vestibular-related.

  • Jade Oct 12, 2010

    I’ve had these migraines and taken maxalt, its the only thing thats worken for me except its really expensive even with insurance and your only allowed a few each month.

  • Vickie Oct 23, 2010

    I get migraines constantly and of course take whatever I can to get rid of them. Instead of taking more drugs for motion sickness I take two ginger capsules when traveling. This works really well for me.

  • Angie Oct 23, 2010

    My neurologist laughed at me when I stated that traveling was one of my triggers. So glad now I have some research to back me up! One thing tht works for me is the motion sickness wristbands. It might be mind or matter but whatever works with less drugs!

  • Bev Feb 8, 2017

    I am 77 years old and since an auto accident in 1985 I have been plagued with dizziness and now nausea, which seems to be more intense with motion. Recently some on suggested I may be having migraines. I do not have severe head aches or any symptoms usually associated with migraines. Is this possible?

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