Um... rash?

Ok, so I woke up this morning covered in spots. Most of them are on my torso and arms, but they’re pretty much everywhere. They range in size from tiny dots to a few millimeters, they’re bright red, and they barely itch at all. I’ve had chicken pox (and that itched like nothing else), so that’s not it… All I had to eat in the morning before I noticed them in the shower were a few rice cakes and some water, so I doubt it’s an allergic reaction, unless it’s from something I ate last night (I did have onions with dinner…)

I’m posting this wondering if it could be some bizarre side-effect of the Verapamil or some sort of reaction to everything that’s been going on with my migraines (I had a nice big one last night). Am I being a hypochondriac and bringing this on myself?

Rashes can be mysterious. I’ve never heard of them being associated with migraine. Rash can be a side effect from Verapamil, and according to, it can be a serious side effect or a “less serious” side effect depending on the rash. I think you should call your doctor.

Thanks Marci. Will do.

(An update just in case someone else experiences the same thing)

The doctor finally called me back and said to stop taking the Verapamil. It’s completely possible that my body gradually became more and more intolerant of the drug over the last few weeks and is now protesting, she said. The spots haven’t gone away yet (I swear, except that it’s just spots and no lesions, it looks just like chicken pox), and they itch a little more, but it’s no big deal (just a little crazy looking). On the bright side, she didn’t seem too terribly concerned about it, so if you do happen to develop an allergic reaction to Verapamil like this, at least there’s no need for alarm (ie, while it’s a serious enough side effect to discontinue use, it doesn’t sound like it’s a sign of something horribly ominous).

Of course, if this is actually some sort of insanely mild version of chicken pox, I’m going to be very “put out.” I had a really bad case of them when I was a kid, so ‘no fair, body! You’ve done enough to me this year!’

Follow-up question: Have you been sick with a strep or cold virus lately? Just curious because my daughter has broken out in a bad rash twice after being sick. Once she had confirmed strep and the other time it was just a bad cold. She was a mess. I’m guessing it was the Verapamil in your case, but I thought I would ask based on my daughters experience. I hope it goes away soon!

FYI - Before being diagnosed with MAV I was being treated for epilpesy and was prescribed lamictal. A potentially serious side effect of lamictal is a skin rash. I mention this because lamictal and verapamil are both calcium channel blockers. As a precaution, I think medical attention should be sought ASAP if a rash develops while taking verapamil. Good luck to all.

I was just at the doctor with my daughter yesterday. I thought she had chicken pox. She has a rash all over her back, chest, and stomach. They are little raised red dots and the ones on her back itch. The doctor said it is strep even though she doesn’t have a sore throat. He put her on an antibiotic. Maybe you have a type of virus.


Yeah, the idea that I might have a virus (specifically strep) seemed pretty possible, so I looked up pictures of strep online before my last posting, but the rash depicted in all the hundreds of Google images looks nothing like what I’ve got right now, and I don’t have a fever, so I’ll see how things pan out over the weekend and go to a doctor if it gets worse (and that’s what the neurologist said to do, too: if it goes away, it was probably the Verapamil. If it doesn’t, see a doctor). If this is a reaction to the Verapamil, it’s really too bad. I had high hopes…

Update: because I started having trouble swallowing and my lips puffed up, I went to the walk-in clinic yesterday, where the doctor took one look at my (at this point, horrific) rash and said “no, that’s not strep, that’s a drug reaction.” She did a quick test for strep just in case, of course, but it came back negative. The verapamil I’d been taking was slow release, so it’ll take a while for it to get out of my body. In the meantime, I’m taking a bunch of anti-histamines and trying to wait it out.

The hives are quite dramatic and very angry, and I’m trying not to freak out (my upper arms and calves are mostly a wash of puffy red blotches that bleed into each other: I feel so pretty). And the fact that they’re essentially everywhere (even on the bottoms of my feet and in between my toes) means it kind of just hurts to do anything right now. Grrr. I would have to be in the 3% of the population that’s allergic to verapamil, wouldn’t I?

Oh dear!! I’m glad you are okay as allergic reactions to drugs can be bad. I’ve had hives before and I know they can be extremely uncomfortable. When it gets to the point where swallowing is affected you are talking serious reaction. I’m sorry this means verapamil is out for you. Hope you are feeling better soon!

Wobblyjess- I am glad that you are ok. But, it is a shame that you had this reaction. I’m so sorry. Certainly not what you needed on top of all this. I keep on saying that this experience is going to make us so very strong. Just wish we would get better already

I ended up going to the ER tonight because the hives had moved to cover all of my arms, and the spots on my lower calves had turned purple, and you know what? As annoying as this has been, I’m really grateful for everything I DO have. We spent four hours waiting for the blood tests to get back (the first doctor brought in a few consults to look at it, since it was pretty gnarly), and got to hear other people coming in and out to get treatment. A kid in the waiting room was brought in by his scruffly-looking father with a broken collar bone. The woman across the curtains to my right in the ER had been taken in for alcohol poisoning and kept crying uncontrollably about her boyfriend, who had just committed suicide. The man to our left was in the throws of some sort of mysterious stomach cramps that had him doubled over in pain and screaming. So many suffering people came through those beds as we waited there, feeling grateful for each other. So yes, it really, really is too bad that I can’t handle the Verapamil (and my skin is so irritated that it gave me a UTI), but things really could be much worse. It was good to be reminded how much worse in person tonight.

My husband actually said to me yesterday that things could be worse. I often forget that because of how horrid I feel. Did the ER agree it was from the Verapamil? I’m assuming so.