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HeadWay Issue #198 Valium, Vitamin D, Migraine
February 22, 2021

In this issue:

Notes on Valium for Migraine

Notes on Vitamin D for Migraine

Say what?!

Notes on Valium for Migraine

Today we're going to look at a couple of issues that readers have requested that we talk about.

First, taking Valium (diazepam) for migraine. More than one patient has mentioned this treatment to me, and it is true that some patients do use a low dosage of diazepam, off label, for migraine treatment.

Most often, diazepam is used for migraine associated vertigo. If you experience a lot of vertigo, and nausea with it, this might be an option.

Aside from this, diazepam is usually pretty far down the list when it comes to migraine treatment, because there are many other medications that are better studied for migraine.

Depending on your age, there are also various concerns with a drug like Valium. This drug tends to have a sedative effect, which wouldn't necessarily be a problem if you take it and go to bed. However, especially with older patients, the effects can last longer, and have been known to increase the risk of falls.

There are also concerns about dependence. Drugs like diazepam often work at the beginning, but the dosage needs to be continually raised, leading to significant health problems.

We won't take the space to talk about all the ins and outs of taking diazepam for migraine. But the short story is this - yes, a low dosage may be helpful, especially if you experience vertigo. But be sure to discuss it with your doctor, especially if you haven't tried many of the other migraine treatments that are available.

Read more about diazepam here.

Notes on Vitamin D for Migraine

Seth had a few good suggestions for future topics, but one was asking for further research on vitamin D.

Actually, I have done more research on vitamin D, but it's a very challenging issue. Briefly, in our last issue, we talked about the common recommendations for vitamin D, which generally range from 400-600 UI for an adult.

However, there are some important issues (sometimes controversies) that I will mention here, as you may want to continue your own research.
  1. Many experts recommend that you have your vitamin D levels checked. The problem is that there is controversy over what is "normal", so you will want to do your research on this. If your levels are in the low range, even not technically "deficient", you may consider finding ways to raise your levels. (Here's a mainstream view from Harvard.)
  2. You should focus on getting vitamin D from your environment. Get outside for half and hour (without sunscreen). Eat foods high in vitamin D (such as eggs or salmon).
  3. It's important to understand the differences between vitamin D2 and D3. Usually you're encouraged to look for supplements with D3, because it is well-absorbed. However, certain health conditions may call for a vitamin D2 supplement.
  4. Another question is - how much should I take? Sometimes, if you have low levels, you need to take a much higher dose to get back to normal. Typically you're warned not to take above 4000UI. But with concerns about COVID-19, some doctors are recommending higher doses if you're in an area with high COVID-19 or influenza risk. Dr. Brian E. McGeeney from Boston University School of Medicine has talked about taking high levels of vitamin D for cluster headache, but again has warned that you should be following up with a doctor who understands the risks.
  5. Just how much does vitamin D help to fight migraine? It seems that how much it helps may have to do with what vitamin D levels you start with. Read more here.
So if you're looking for an easy answer, you won't find it in five minutes. But here are some top recommendations:
  • Talk to your doctor, and discuss your concerns. Why are you thinking of taking vitamin D? Have you been tested? Do you have any gut issues? Are you taking medications that may deplete vitamin D levels?
  • Get outside. Especially if you're inside more than usual these days, and if you have darker skin. Read more here.
  • Be cautious about taking very high doses of vitamin D in supplement form, especially if you're healthy and not taking it for a specific condition. Again, talk to your doctor.
  • There are lots of diet options as well that can increase your vitamin D, without taking a supplement.
  • If you are considering a supplement, look for a well recognized brand (it doesn't need to be expensive).

    Coming... Migraine World Summit 2021

    Although we were thankful that the online Migraine World Summit went ahead last year, let's face it. This is the first summit that will be really grappling with the "new world" in which we live. Many experienced increased symptoms last year, and we need to reverse the trend right away.

    Also, they will soon be announcing some exciting details about this year's summit, including a new and important topic that has never been covered in depth before!

    I've explained in the past why you should register, even if you're not sure you can attend. Read more here. Or, just go and register for free here. It will only take a minute!

    Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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