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Will taking a Triptan prove Migraine or Inner ear problem?

I’ve never been prescribed Triptans. I had this idea that if I take a Triptan and all of my symptoms go away, then I have Vestibular Migraine and not an Inner Ear problem. Is my theory true?

For context- I have a chronic 24/7 Vestibular Migraine. I’ve tried a few meds, and now I started on Botox 3 weeks ago. The Botox has helped the throbbing pain and light sensitivity, but I’m still constantly dizzy, nauseous, and have noise sensitivity.

Hi there.
My understanding from my neurologist and the literature I have read is triptans will not help VM but will help migraine with head pain. On several occasions I’ve asked about rescue medicines as the USA experts refer to them. I’m told to ride the storm out. ; (
That’s my experience but remember others may have different ones.

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That’s a novel idea. I can easily see how you may have come to think that though. If it had been proven to work I think every family doctor would have a packet of Triptans on their desk. There exists no definite test for VM as yet unfortunately.

In practical terms most of the material I’ve read suggests that Triptans actually tend to make VM worse. I assume it was designed for straight classic migraine. Many classic migraineurs do well with it, I imagine any individual’s reaction to Triptans whether negative or positive is simply just that, their individual sensitivity. Not indicative of anything further.

Besides, just to muddy the waters still further, have you ever given any thought that for some people an Ear Problem could actually be the cause of the migraine rather than an alternative to it? Might not be two separate issues anyway. I appreciate many migraineurs are life-long sufferers who don’t have ear issues but for others there could be ear involvement just as for others whiplash can cause VM like symptoms.

Hi, when I have a migraine with dizzy symptoms I take a Triptan and it seems to help. These are the short lived migraines though, not your 24/7 dizzy variety. I have tried that too.

I believe this is my case. Which is why I have a lot of positional issues and others feel better lying down.

Preventatives are your best bet I think

So I have been exploring this option. I have seen 2 different ENTS in the past 5 months. They both shooed me out of their office after a quick 2 minute exam, telling me I “only” have Vestibular Migraine. Well, guess what- I’ve been on migraine medications, Botox, migraine diet, no caffeine, no alcohol and whatever else. I’ve had no luck.

I feel like at this point an inner ear problem is most likely…. I’m seeing a 3RD ENT in less than 2 months! My fingers are crossed that this one will actually give me the time of day.

And if I do wind up “only” having Vestibular Migraines (both of the ENTS used this exact phrasing), well… I think I’m in a bit of a hole because I explored most of the options for them.

I honestly don’t understand how people survive with this condition. I’ve been sick since I was a child and now I’m in my early 20s. With each passing day, it only continues to get worse. I don’t see myself living with this for much longer.

Awww I feel for you so incredibly much. You definitely have had unsympathetic doctors so far and some that obviously do not understand the complexities nor the horrendous feeling day in and day out.

Go you for continuing to advocate for yourself. Go into this new ENT explaining the issues you have had so far with other doctors and plead for more tests or scans? But what you really need is a plan moving forward.

No one wants to live with this. Have your purpose in life as trying new meds until one works. Be patient with them. Ask for support. Maybe see a neurologist rather than an ENT. Where do you live?

I know it’s so hard. Read up on success stories on here. They always make me more positive. No one is saying this is easy, please find the strength to carry on and work through it.

Very supportive people on here who completely understand how crap it is.


Your struggles to find a diagnosis whilst frustrating is I’m afraid quite common. I saw four ENT consultants and none could find anything wrong with me. VM still isn’t universally acknowledge to even exist and it seems here in U.K. it’s generally deemed outside an ENTs field of interest anyway. I eventually saw a Neuro-otologist ironically for another condition and whilst ruling the other condition out he just happened to diagnose my Migraine Associated Vertigo in passing. Quite literally actually. As I walked passed him holding the door open for me to leave his consulting room. However he declined to treat me/manage my case as he too said MAV was outside his field of interest. All just goes to show how difficult it is to find somebody who is interested enough to assist us MAVers. Depending where you are geographically you could try for a balance centre, neuro-otologist, migraine specialist neurologist or even a headache clinic. You need all the appropriate tests carried out, a start from scratch approach combined with about a ton of calmness and patience I’d suggest. There are loads of possible preventatives so it’s virtually impossible to run totally out of options.