Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sumatriptan, C14H21N3O2S 295.40

I have experienced migraine headaches for forty years. In the last decade they have somewhat lessened in severity if not in frequency. I have had days when I considered (and obviously rejected) a trip behind the barn with my shotgun. For the first several years I experienced distortions in vision (aura) at the onset of the migraine which may or may not have been followed by pain. Luckily this effect is now rare; it can get dangerous on the road and frustrating at work. For the last six or seven years I have gratefully used three medications for treatment. Maxalt, zomig, and imitrex in that order. All were effective but all seem to eventually promote more frequent migraine experiences and use of the drug.
I am now using generic imitrex, sumatriptan; this is the only prescription drug I use. I usually feel very airy when I take the drug. I decided to do a little experiment a couple of days ago. My blood pressure is normally an excellent 125/68. I tested myself last week on my handy BP machine and that is what it was. I took a sumatriptan Friday night and decided to check my BP a couple of hours later after the drug took effect. My result: 158/95. I remembered that a couple of years ago I had an annual physical and my BP was slightly elevated. I had taken an imitrex the day before. My MD wanted to put me on a drug for high BP. I demurred. I was back at the doctor's a week later for a follow up and the BP was fine. Yes, somewhere in the small print on the flyer that comes with the drug you will find that sumatriptan can elevate blood pressure. If you are hypertensive you should avoid this drug. Now I despise the notion of going on drugs. My exception is the migraine drug which I take reluctantly, but mind destroying pain can melt resistance. I average using about eight 50mg tablets a month. (Yes, I have a good health insurance plan; I pay less than 50 cents for a pill that retails for about $5. Before it went generic, sumatriptan (imitrex 50mg) retailed for an astounding $20+ a pill; but you would pay the price for relief.) I will record my BP during migraine episodes before and after use of this drug. Questions: Is it worth several days of elevated BP a month to relieve the pain of migraine? And, is it really the sumatriptan causing the hypertension? And I wonder. What is the price to be paid for long term use of this drug?

Love is a universal migraine
A bright stain on the vision
Blotting out reason
-Robert Graves

1 comment:

Rose Weaver said...

I noticed the tag "migraine" and read this post. I've been gathering info on migraines, depression, etc, and how they may be related to psi phenomena and/or the propensity/desire/drive to work with/study the esoteric arts, pattern recognition, etc. I found your post quite interesting within the context of your blog over all.

I don't know if you've experienced depression or mood swings in addition to your migraines (with which I can identify; I've often had the desire to take a gun to my head, and the visual auras just suck), but a friend posted this article which I thought I'd link you to in case you were interested...