In The Age Of Dog Antidepressants, Why Refuse Miracle Migraine Meds?

Illustration for article titled In The Age Of Dog Antidepressants, Why Refuse Miracle Migraine Meds?

I don't get migraines, but I can assure you on the basis of the way I medicate a hangover that if I did I would most certainly be a pussy and steal a few tablets of my roommate's miracle drug Topamax. I mean, I have never even experienced these, but from the sounds of what New York Times blogger Judith Warner deals with every time she gets one it's like period cramps in your head, only on Mt. Everest. And, the drug doesn't do anything weird to my roommate, and it apparently also curbs your desire to get hangovers so you're really avoiding headaches altogether, and plus my fucking DOG takes antidepressants. But beyond all that, the pharmaceutical industry generates so many made-up illnesses to create demand for its pills, why discourage them when they come out with something that truly treats something that is an actual problem people have? Because, according to this column she just wrote that has been on the New York Times' most-emailed list for several centuries at this point already, you can fix migraines easy with just a few diet alterations!

I stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol and stopped eating chocolate, cheese, M.S.G., nuts, vinegar, citrus fruits, bananas, raspberries, avocados, onions, fresh bagels and donuts, pizza, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, aspartame and all aged, cured, fermented, marinated, smoked, tenderized or nitrate-preserved meats.


Um, so you went on a diet, Judy?

I didn't like the amitriptyline. It made me gain weight. It made me sleepy.

So the answer is 'yes.'

And, once I got used to it, I came to almost enjoy being on my diet, exploring my capacity for hunger and self-abnegation, obsessing over what foods I could eat, and how, and when. At the very least, the diet made my friends happy. Renouncing food, renouncing pills, is so often, in our time, seen as the right and righteous, pure and wholesome thing to do.

Um, earth to Judy. 1. No one is "happy" when a friend "wholesomely" i.e. sanctimoniously goes on a ridiculously restrictive diet, unless the friend has cancer or diabetes. Luckily for your friends, Topamax has some subtle appetite suppressants that will make you thin without all that annoying self-sacrifice shit. Problem solved!

And yeah, if the answer to the question posed in the headline is "to find a way to generate traffic writing about my restrictive diet because that's all dieters like to talk about in a way that causes readers to sympathize with me and communicate with one another" — not that I would venture a theory that cynical! — it sure worked!

The Migraine Diet [NY Times]



I've got chronic, weird-ass migraines that cause symptoms more like a stroke than serious pain, and for which I can't take any of the triptans as they could cause me to have an infarction. The reason anti-seizure meds are used as migraine prevention lately is because of a theory that migraines are a seizure disorder. I went through many rounds of medication roulette to find an anti-seizure whose side effects I could live with that at least lessened the number of migraines I got. Topamax, aka Dopamax, was hell. Aside from the crippling pain I went through transitioning to it, it made me dumb as rocks, as in, forgot my own name. Really. I'd also spend hours in Target, just staring at an end cap, thinking "OOOh, shiny." And when they warn you that you could have "facial numbness," you don't think "skull numbness." I'm still nicknamed "numbskull" by a buddy. It just wasn't worth it. Another anti-seizure med made me shake like I was gong through withdrawal, which isn't a good look when you're job hunting. I'm on one now that cuts down on the frequency of migraines, but doesn't stop them completely.

Either because of the migraines, my depression, or as a side effect of the anti-seizure meds, I have the memory problems misslatin and lioness mentioned. The word recall issue is a bitch for me as I'm pretty verbal, and needing to take a second to check your notes to remember if you did actually finish the task your boss is asking about can make her think you're "special." I went through a battery of tests, the kind they give stroke victims and the like, and was told that my problems weren't bad, and that I was still up there in intelligence. Not much of a comfort, really. I've learned to write lists, and make notes for myself about everything at work.

Food is sure a trigger for some people, but it isn't for everyone. Lots of women get menstrual migraines, and doctors seem to know bugger all how to control them. Mine are stress triggered, coming after the stress has cleared, and I can usually tell when an incident is likely to have me stumbling around, with decreased motor skills, blindness, and slurred speech once I'm through it. Nothing I can to avoid it, but, if possible, I put off anything involving driving, as you can imagine how, um, challenging it is to drive while basically blind to the left.