Consumer Reports: Triptans

I find this part of their report interesting:

People who have had a heart attack or stroke, have uncontrolled high blood pressure, or have migraines that are accompanied by weakness or paralysis in an arm or leg, vertigo, ringing in the ears, or speech difficulties, should also avoid triptans.

That’s not something I’d heard before. Interesting that the ENT doc who first diagnosed me with vestibular migraine (including “ringing in the ears” being one of my symptoms) had me try Imitrex, among other things. If this is true, he certainly shouldn’t have even suggested it.

Actually I have read about that before. It was about triptans and basilar migraine. The recommendation is that you don’t use triptans in that case. Basilar migraine give these symptoms you describe. The reason was because it is supposed to be caused by decreased blood flow to certain areas of the brain and the triptans can restrict blood flow even further.

However, it was also said that classic migraine with aura is also supposed to have features of restricted blood flow. And triptans is recommended for that type of migraine. The authors thought that that was not logical. They also said that there have been tests with triptans on patients with basilar migraine and those tests have been fine. In other words, there is no evidence in support of the theory that triptans should be avoided by patients with certain types of migraines, it is just a bunch of doctors who once sat and thought about it and concluded that it could possibly be harmful. On theoretic grounds. Proof is always stronger than theory.

That is what the article said. Unfortunately I don’t remember where I read it. I guess drugs can always be potentially harmful. But I don’t think that you can say that your ENT was wrong when prescribing you the triptans. But maybe he could have informed you that some people believe there might be a risk.

Anyway, did the triptan work for you?

I only tried the Imitrex twice. It didn’t do anything, though I wasn’t surprised, as it’s an abortive and not a preventative and I wouldn’t have expected that an abortive would “fix” a chronic case of vestibular migraine. (I don’t generally get headaches - it’s mostly the visual vertigo, tinnitus, that kind of thing that I deal with on a daily basis.)

Yea, I guess it wouldn’t have helped you so much if the triptan would have worked, since you anyway can not use it “all the time”.

But I still think it is strange that it didn’t give you temporary relief…

Thanks for the info ZomigMan, that was very informative.