Why 3 months?

Hi there,

After a three month trial with Nort I have now moved on to Propranonlol and so far with no success. I was wondering why many people say it might take up to three months before the meds start working. Three months? My Neuro never mentioned this tidbit of information and if I do the math it could take years to find a med that might work. Shouldn’t we know after a couple of weeks if a med is the right one or not? Three months sounds like a long time for our body to adjust to it. That’s my rant for the day.


Hey Steve,

I don’t know why it takes so long for some of these meds to work. I seem to get reasonably fast results from SSRIs that are tolerable but having said that it took me a good 8 weeks to recover from a crash in 2007 on Cipramil. Perhaps it’s just because it takes a long time for the nervous system to adjust and calm down depending on how nasty things are to begin with.


I’m not sure about the med you are on but it’s going to take me 3-4 months just to reach the ideal dosage of topamax.

but i think your body just needs that time to get use to it. i guess it would be like a depressed person starting an anti-depressant - there not going to be immediately happy the next week.

i don’t know. i’m no doctor.

MAV is, technically speaking, a stubborn old mule.

If someone says, “Drug X may take up to three months to start working,” I’d say they aren’t accurately representing the situation. I think it’s more like this: Some drugs that work are slower than most to start showing beneficial results (the “why” is unclear), and so patients are advised to allow a drug trial to continue for up to three months.

The idea is that by this point, the patient should have at least started to see some improvement or positive change in symptoms. As well, the body should have long since acclimated (if it is going to – some people never “get used to” some drugs) to most or all side-effects. If the drug hasn’t done anything by the three-month mark, it’s safe to say it’s not about to start acting, and they are allowed to gradually discontinue and move on to other treatment options.

Basically these timeframes (like three months) are set up so the medicine has “had a fair chance” before being stopped too soon. Three months is the long end of the spectrum, though. Some drugs start acting within 2 to 4 weeks.

This disorder, I suspect, is a more complex problem than some other neurological ones, and can take a long time (weeks or months) for a medicine to help stabilize the brain. In some cases it probably makes the brain “stable” enough that it can begin to try to self-correct, but even that process is slow. The more advanced the (MAV) case, the more work to be done, so to speak.