Varpamil vs. Pizotifen

Good morning all,
I am new to this forum, so please forgive me if this question has already gone through the rounds. I have been reading many, many posts and thought I would give this a whirl and ask something that has been on my mind, but I cannot find answers through the web or through my doctors. So, okay, here it goes:
I am afraid to take prescription drugs for MAV. There…I said it…now here is why…
In the summer of 2009, I saw a neurologist whom I thought was going to help me figure this thing out. He saw I had a history of migraine and just went with that, regardless of the new symptoms I was experiencing, and he put me on Imitrex. My first dose and I ended up spending an evening in the ER via ambulance with what was the worst headache I had ever experienced in my life - I couldn’t open my eyes for hours, my head hurt so bad. I am not sure what they gave me that evening, but I was “out of it” for a week. Ok…so fast forward…

When I received my initial diagnosis (Nov 2011), I was given an Rx for Verapamil 5mg.I admitted to my doc that I was a non-compliant patient because of my experience with Imitrex and he replied, “So don’t take it.” and we continued with the supplements and diet modifications and did find relief…and, hey, I lost weight. But, upon a recent trip to Chicago (my hometown) I experienced an attack of vertigo while shopping on Michigan Avenue. I realized the components that lead up to that episode: lack of sleep, long car ride, barometric pressure change, humidity, stress from getting caught in a downpour, shopping under flourescent lights, hot inside the stores, hotel room on the 34th floor, un-timed meals, eating out (high sodium, high fat, etc.) - yep…set me right up. I realized that evening that I need to get this under control…diet and vitamins are not going to help me when an attack hits and I want to be able to travel and have a good time - this sucks.

Okay…so now you have the back story (sort of) let’s go back to my debate - I have read a lot about the success of Pizotifen 5mg (causes weight gain, which I do NOT need to do) and Verapamil 5mg (I have a script for this, but am afraid of the side effects). I think part of my problem goes back to the reaction I had to Imitrex. I am scared - I hate feeling bad and I do NOT want to end up in the hospital again. I am scared of spending another few years trying to figure out a prophylaxis that works for me, while feeling like (excuse me) shit in the meantime.

I don’t know what to do, but I know it is time to have a serious talk with not only my doc, but with myself…I want to feel better and I do NOT want to get sick in the middle of an awesome weekend ever again.
Any words of wisdom? Anyone know anything about either of these two drugs? I am literally making my self sick over the thought of taking the meds…

Some have felt improvement on Verapamil, but I personally think Pizotifen is a better choice. I tried Verapamil up to 360mg with no positive effect on me, but that simply means that calcium chanels are not the dysfunction in my brain. It works wonders for some people. But I think a serotonergic medication is a better first choice.

Totally understand where you’re coming from…

i had my Pizotifen sitting on the kitchen bench for about five weeks before plucking up the courage to take one - that was five days ago. Was quite drowsy the first couple of days but apart from that no adverse side effects for me (yet).

I’m just taking one in the evening, Doc reckons i’ll need to up the dose to at least three tabs before i get any real improvement, but i’m more comfortable starting slowing.

i’ve been down the diet and vitamin road and it’s only helped to a point - and am just so fed up of still feeling like shite everyday as well.

good luck

some forum members have had great results with pizotifen - good luck with it!

— Begin quote from “fierroa”

Okay…so now you have the back story (sort of) let’s go back to my debate - I have read a lot about the success of Pizotifen 5mg…

— End quote

Hi there,
just a quick question. Why 5mg? I had amazing success a long time ago with Pizotifen at 1mg. 5mg sounds high for Pizotifen…?

This is the VERY question I was going to ask my neuro when I see him on the 11th. The 5mg came from a research article that showed success rates on which meds and at what dosage. I think I am going to push to start on small doses and work up, if needed.

I think I read too much into side effects, too. Gee, do you think I have anxiety? LOL! :smiley:

Thank you for bringing that up…I am adding it to the list of questions now.

LOl - I understand - we all have anxiety - seems to come with the condition, I’m afraid!
I started at 0.5mg and then upped to 1mg after 5 days or so.
It really is quite a ‘gentle’ med, so try not to worry. Dry mouth, and tiredness, especially at the beginning, but nothing too bad :slight_smile:
Best wishes,

I have no experience with any of these drugs, but consider this: Imitrex is in a different class of drugs than the various migraine preventives. Just because you had a bad reaction to Imitrex does NOT mean you’ll have a bad reaction to any others.

I can understand how such a horrible experience could be traumatizing, but remember, that was only ONE drug (a migraine ABORTIVE) and it is fundamentally different (I believe) from the migraine PREVENTIVE drugs. You probably realize this logically, even though your gut tells you to be afraid!

Good luck with your decision,


I totally understand med anxiety!!! I have been on Verapamil 240mg SR in the morning and then 240 mg SR in the evening. I have had zero side effects with any of the 3 daily migraine preventatives that I have been on and have been for almost 5 years. For me the 2nd hardest part of taking these meds (after my med anxiety of course) is the “patience in giving the meds a chance to work” which most docs say is 6-8 weeks. that any symptoms that you experience after taking the med is probably due to migraine rather that the drug.

Hang in there!!

— Begin quote from “fierroa”

… of Pizotifen 5mg

— End quote

thought this might have been a typo, as 5mg is the equivalent of 10 tablets!!

in Australia each tablet contains 0.5mg Pizotifen.