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Reader's Mail: Any Other Options for Chronic Headache?

Q. I am a frequent migraine sufferer and have had no luck in finding a treatment that works for me. I’ve had massage therapy, acupuncture, and been to my primary care doctor and a neurologist. I’ve been on a daily preventive (Topamax®), which did nothing for the headaches, but did make me sick! I now take Maxalt® when I feel a bad migraine coming on, but it doesn’t work as well as it did when I first started taking it. Is there something else I can try? I’m ready to bang my head against a wall!

A. Banging your head against the wall will not help, but there are many other options to control your headaches. Some people do not tolerate Topamax or do not get the desired effect. Your neurologist could recommend a different antiseizure medication (Topamax and some other migraine preventives are from the antiseizure class) or a beta-blocker, or some combination of drugs. Also, you need to know if there are any psychological factors contributing to your frequent and unresponsive headaches. I think you should see a headache specialist who will take the time to evaluate you and manage your headaches on an individual basis.

George Urban, M.D.
Diamond Headache Clinic
Chicago, IL

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