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HeadWay, Issue #031 -- 5 popular drugs
February 21, 2006

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In this month's issue:

5 Top-selling drugs

Tidbits from the website, and a thank you gift

Say what?! Gastric stasis

5 Top-selling drugs

This month we're going to look quickly at 5 drugs that are huge big sellers around the world.  Though not necessarily directly headache related, chances are many of you are taking (or have taken) at least one of these.  It's important to know how they relate to migraine or headache.  So here's a quick look at 5 top-sellers:

  • Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride):  Zoloft is an antidepressant, which works by making more serotonin available to the brain.  As with many similar drugs, it's also taken for migraine (although not one of the more common drugs used).  Zoloft is a preventative, and may take a number of weeks to work.  You also go off it gradually.  If you're taking Zoloft for depression, you may actually find that headache, insomnia and nausea are side effects.  If that's the case, you may want to talk to your doctor about an alternative.
  • Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet HD, Dolacet, etc (hydrocodone with acetaminophen):  Hydrocodone is an narcotic analgesic related to codeine.  It's generally used to treat moderate to severe pain.  This drug can be very habit forming.  Your body can not only become used to the drug, it can actually start causing headaches.  If you have severe pain and you take it very rarely, it may help, but there are far better permanent solutions.  One side effect of this drug may be constipation, so use while on a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium):  Synthroid is of course used to treat hypothyroidism.  Most common in women, it's also a problem in men.  Your thyroid is very important for the smooth functioning of your body, and so if it's out of balance a number of symptoms can show up, including headache and migraine.  Some people have found that when treatment starts, the headaches also start.  Take time to let your body adjust, and if there are still problems, get a second opinion on your thyroid problem (misdiagnosis is common) and then look for other treatment options.  Try to take a look at your lifestyle and other symptoms, and look for related problems.  An earlier issue of HeadWay also discussed this issue.
  • Lexapro, Cipralex (escitalopram oxalate):  Lexapro is another antidepressant.  It's similar to Zoloft in the way it works and the common side effects.  It's also taken for migraine, more commonly than Zoloft.  Once again, as a preventative, it takes a while to work and you go off it gradually.
  • Prinivil, Zestril (lisinopril):  Lisinopril is an "angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor" (ACE inhibitors).  It's usually used for treating high blood pressure and heart failure, in combination with other medications.  It works on the chemicals in your body to decrease the tightening of the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely.  It has been used as a migraine preventative, and so is taken consistently decrease both migraine attack frequency and severity.  Though not showing a spectacular improvement in everyone, it may be something helpful to try.

  • One thing to remember, if you're taking any of these for whatever reason - be sure your doctor is aware of what other drugs you're taking.  It's very easy to end up taking two drugs (or a drug and a herb or supplement) that can be dangerous in combination.

    This is only a few tidbits of information.  To read more, try a search at the Mayo Clinic or

    Tidbits from the website, and a thank you gift

    After our "30th issue celebration" last month, I have even more reason to say Thanks!  Recently Relieve-Migraine-Headache was honoured by our hosts on the internet, as one of the best health sites in the top 1%.  Check out this blog entry for more details.  Also, thanks for all your excellent feedback last month, especially on the issue of nausea.  Many of you pointed out a glaring omission - the use of ginger.  So thanks to you there's now a new article on the site (a slightly ginger-centric one) on nausea.  Visit the migraine nausea page.

    For more on the migraine-food connection, including food triggers and links to more information, check out the migraine - headache - diet page.

    Find out what other site visitors are thinking, and share your opinion.  Brand new are the Reader's Choice Awards, the favourite migraine and headache books of our visitors, including cookbooks.

    And since we're on the topic of food, I have a special gift for you, as a thank you.  If you visit the HeadWay MailRoom (password nomoache), you can download in pdf format a super-rich multigrain granola recipe.  Packed with headache and migraine fighting ingredients, this recipe is also flexible enough to use ingredients that may already be in your cupboard.  If you're sick of processed food (which is an enemy to the headache sufferer) and want to experiment with something fun and easy, try out this recipe.

    If there's anything that has improved my health personally, it's balancing my diet with a little home made granola.  I'll offer this recipe to everyone later, but you can check it out first!  While you're there, why not suggest a future topic for HeadWay?

    Coming up soon - more on "silent migraine".  In the mean time, check out our page on eye migraines, including silent or pain free migraine.

    Say what?! Gastric stasis

    Gastric stasis, also called gastroparesis (though this may refer to more serious versions) has been in the news lately.  Gastric stasis basically means that food stays in your stomach longer.  If you're taking a painkiller, gastric stasis could be a problem because the drug will take longer to get into your system.

    A recent study confirmed that migraineurs with aura in particular are prone to gastric stasis, and so may benefit from drugs that don't need to go through the stomach.  Visit the blog for more on the gastric stasis study, and what it means for you.
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