Migraine Equivalent (MAV) and Anti-Anxiety Medication

Hi All,

I have been dealing with this dizzy condition for nearly 15 years. The medication that has helped me most has been Xanex. If not for that medication i don’t know how things would be right now. I use to be on a moderate to high dose a number of years back but i have been able to reduce the strenght to only one tab 0.25mg (lowest dose you can purchase) per day…somedays if things are really stressful or having a bad day i will take 2 tabs. It took 14 years to finally get a diagnose of Migraine Equivalent and or MAV. So just wondering if anyone out their with the same diagnosis takes either Klonopin, Xanex, Ativan, or Valium…or other newer anti-anxiety medications that have been helpful? There is a new one called Doral that i hear is very good.

I will be seeing a Neurologist in the near future to help monitor medication and who is very familar with all kinds of headaches…even the silent ones. I want to try Verapamil and some others. The anti-depressants that i will stay away from are the SSRI’s…they just don’t work for me.

Any info regarding anti-anxiety meds that have been helpful with your motion condition…i hope you will share.



I’ve had migraines since I was 10 years old. Use to I would get vertigo or lightheaded right before a migraine and that was the way I knew a migraine was coming on. In the last two years I have had chronic daily lightheadedness to the point that I became so depressed and didn’t want to get out of bed.

Within those two years my mom passed away and my doctor gave me a few Xanax during that time. While I was taking them I realized that they completely stopped me from being lightheaded. I told my doc about this and of course he said it sounded like anxiety to him, but he did continue to prescribe them for me. I am so scared of becoming addicted to them, but they are the only thing that stops my dizziness. He prescribed 0.5, but I break them in half and so far that’s all I need per day to stop the dizziness. I’ve been taking them for about a year.

I did go last month to an ear specialist to rule out any problems with my ears and he diagnosed me with MAV, which I never heard of till then. He said he did not believe it was anxiety and that I should be on a preventative instead of an abortive, but I have had such bad side effects from so many of the preventatives that I’m chicken to try anymore. He said I should see a Neurologist instead of a primary care physician.

I so sorry, I sure turned this into a book with your simple question. In answer to your question is yes, I take Xanax and it has helped tremendously.

I too want to try Verapamil, but wish I knew how I would react to it. My mom passed away due to a mix of antidepressants and pain pills. It was not an overdose, but the medical examiner told me it turned toxic in her body. So, you can see why I’m so chicken of meds!

Oh, by the way, I’m a newbie. This is my first post. :slight_smile:



Yeah I take Xanax and have done so for about 8 years. I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder all these years and recently diagnosed with MAV. I take 2mg a day. While I was pregnant I took took .25 mg a day but need more to feel normal and help stop the dizzies. I find I need 1 mg to help at all.

I am on Prothiden but no success with that. I’ve heard Lyrica Pregbalan (not sure of spelling) is good for migraine and associated anxiety. I’d like to give that a try next.


Hi DizzyLoopey,

When this dizzy condition went Chronic in 1992…i was diagnosed with “Panic Disorder”. A few years later i went to the Stanford Ear Institute and they diagnosed me with “Inner-ear Dysfunction with Anxiety”…whatever that meant?? A couple of years after that i saw a Neurologist who thought i had a touch of Benign Positional Vertigo (even though when he did the vestibular exercise in his office on me there was no nystagmus)…and possibly a inner-ear condition. A few years later one doctor thought i had Menieres…so as you can see i have been around the block numerous times and finally in 2006 i went to UCLA and saw Dr. Robert Baloh and he and his assistant had read all of my history prior to me visiting and once he saw me it was like he could see right thru me…and listened to me for about 15-20 minutes and he said i honestly believe you have MAV or Migraifne Equivalent and it has some similarites too Mal de debarquement. But the folks with Mal de debarquement don’t complain so much of their head being tense or motion inside their head. They feel a rocking motion all over the body. Dr. Baloh said back in 1992 when i was diagnosed with Panic Disorder the doctor wasnot that far off from a proper diagnosis. He believes that MAV, Panic Disorder, & Mal de debarquement all have similarities and are like close cousins.



I found a recent article in Archives of Otolaryngology and they looked at chronically dizzy patients and were able to diagnose all of them with various disorders, but found that the anxiey was due to the dizziness, and not the cause of the dizziness.
I’ve been on klonopin for 4 years now and struggle with the knowledge that I take an addictive drug: but it allows me to function.
I’ve cut down the dose, but have been “stuck” at 1 mg twice a day for about a year. Recently, things have been more stable, so I’m considering a decrease.

Here’s the abstract:

Expanding the Differential Diagnosis of Chronic Dizziness Jeffrey P. Staab, MD, MS; Michael J. Ruckenstein, MD
Objective: To improve treatment outcomes for patients with chronic dizziness by identifying clinical conditions associated with persistent symptoms and delineating key diagnostic features that differentiate its causes and direct attention to specific treatments.

Design: Prospective cohort study from 1998 to 2004. Setting: Tertiary care balance center. Patients: A total of 345 men and women, aged 15 to 89 years, referred for evaluation of chronic dizziness (duration of

It didn’t let me copy the whole abstract: here’s the URL

Just to reassure you, the only side effect I have experienced on verapamil is constipation, which is easily countered (drink lots of water and ingest more fiber, and walk a lot).

It does seem that when I am on it, the incidence of migraine events is much less.

I have been on and off valium for twoand a half years now. I only take it when I get real spinny, anxiety sets in or on rainy days. The barometric pressure seems to be my biggest trigger. It does help! I am on Neurontin on a daily basis, overall it helps to some degree but can’t overide certain triggers.


Xanex has been the only medication that gives me some relief so that i feel a bit more stationary. The anti-depressant Elvavil hasnot been that much help so plan to see another Urologist and request to try Verapamil.


Hi Joe, my only diagnosis has been mal de debarquement , and its desptressing as there are no meds except benzo’s or antidepression meds, i do beleve many people with malde as their diagnosis truly know its something else. whether it be MAV undiagnosed or meniers undiagnosed it’s all very distressing.
i belong to the mal de debarquent support group it was my first stop into a forum about a 2 years ago and with out them wouldnever have any idears at all as to what this was, a lady called marla is an RN who sufferes from mdds as well she was the first one to suggest that mine could be MAV .

People with mal de also suffer many different styles of dizziness and imbalance , head pain, tightness all sorts of things .
blessing jen


The only reason i don’t connect with Mal de debarquement is because when the members talk about the rocking motion they mostly feel it throughout their body like they are off balance. But the wavy motion i feel is felt mostly inside my head with a throbbing condition and of course that affects my equilibrium. It kind of feels like something kneading at my brain or in the middle (inside) of my head. Like a little pendulum going back and forth every which way. That is where the Xanex helps to calm the motion so that i feel more stationary…althought not a cure. When this condition became chronic 15 years ago i use to describe it as…when you walk into the ocean water with water about chest deep and the little waves coming at you from every which way…if i don’t take my medication that is how it feels.

Thanks for your input.