Relief. The Importance of Keeping a Medication Diary

Tucson night sky

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I’ve been battling a severe migraine flare since April 20th, I’m so happy to share that I’m finally back to my baseline for my migraines and my rescue medications are once again working so I’m having sweet, sweet relief!! How did this come about? Well let me tell you, this was an ordeal! And it could probably have been sorted sooner if I had noticed something earlier, in the end, I’m glad I wrote about when I started new medications here.

One of the first things I did when all of this started was try to figure out if I anything had changed, had I started a new medication, was I eating differently, sleeping differently….anything? Well I had started Emgality, a migraine preventative, but I started it a month before this started and I was insured that it would not cause migraines. I had also started Viibryd, an antidepressant, but I (thought) I started it in March. Finally after my hospital stay in June, I went through my blog posts and found this post on April 27th that said I started an antidepressant the week before. https://picnicwithants.com/2019/04/27/little-update-from-travels-to-depression/ That was the week the intractable migraine started. The post also talks about how much better my migraines were in March after I started Emgality on February 28th. Ding! Ding! Ding! Could it be that this drug was contributing to this migraine flare? I was going to find out! I looked up the side effects for Viibryd and sure enough, one of the common side effects is “headache” (15%) and one of the lesser side effects is “migraine”. I put a call in to my psychiatrist and a message in to my migraine doctor. Wouldn’t you know it, my psychiatrist was out of the country! Ha! Glad to know my doctors had a good time traveling this summer! So, everyone knows what I did with my migraine doctor, if you missed it, you can check out my post on SPG Blocks here, but keep in mind that I was still on the Viibryd at the time. I got a message from my psychiatrist PA and they said that migraine wasn’t a side effect of Viibryd (Can you see me rolling my eyes?? I read the prescribing information handout that comes from the manufacturer, where did she get her information?) In the call I’d also asked about a couple of other antidepressants that are used at migraine preventatives to see what they thought, I was told that they didn’t go with Viibryd. Umm, I’m not going to stay on Viibryd! But she couldn’t seem to understand that. I can’t say it is all her fault, the front office there is awful! I love my psychiatrist, but it is horrible to try to get messages through, so I decided to slowly taper off of it by myself, and just wait for my appointment which is next week to discuss the rest. And guess what?! After being totally off Viibryd for about a week my migraines dropped to about my baseline, or below.

Since my birthday, I’ve taken a rescue medication once! Don’t get me wrong, I have had more than one migraine, but they haven’t been severe and I haven’t felt the need to take medication for them. At the first sign of a migraine I’ve been taking 500mg of Ginger and it has been helping (this is a great article about the efficacy of ginger in helping migraines). As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t take rescue meds more than 2 days a week, so unless a migraine is bad I normally don’t take it since I often have migraines an average of 5 – 6 days a week. I save those 2 days for days I have something planned, or days when it is very severe.

I just noticed that today is the 15th and I haven’t taken migraine meds since the 5th! Wow! Perhaps the Emgality is doing something too? I’m really thinking that the Viibryd was messing me up big time. And so far I haven’t noticed my moods dropping since I’ve been off of it. You know, I’ve been fighting a migraine today, but I think I’m going to take something for it. This is great! Maybe I won’t have to save my medication for worse days? Do I dare hope?

To close I’d just like to say that this has taught me to always mark on my calendar when I start and stop medications, and pay close attention to how my body changes. I really thought I was on top of these things, but obviously it can slip by you, especially during busy times and times of high stress. If I had been able to put together that this had been a side effect earlier I might not have suffered for so long.

11 thoughts on “Relief. The Importance of Keeping a Medication Diary

  1. Rita McGregor

    Great idea! Keeping a medication/health journal makes perfect sense. I am so glad you figured this out and are feeling better–whoohoo! 🙂

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  2. Yehah! So glad to read your migraine monster has been tamed!
    I’ve had the same issue with doctors — I’ve figured out that X is happening because I take Y. But Y is considered an uncommon side effect. I taper off Y, and X gets better.
    I am in the same process right now, trying to figure out which med (and in what combination) is messing me up! The problem is, for me, I can suddenly get side effects from a medication long after I started taking it (for example lithium) with no other changes in meds, dosage, etc.
    You are very good about keeping track, and in this case, your blog sorted it out. I hope you can make your shrink understand. I never could with one medication shrink and therapy office. Sigh.
    Fingers, eyes, legs, hair, teeth (lol) crossed that you have discovered the underlying problem.

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    1. It can be a challenge to figure out what is causing symptoms and interactions, that’s for sure!
      It wasn’t my shrink that was so dense, it was her PA and her staff. I see her next week and I’ll discuss things with her then, I’m sure she’ll understand.
      Of course, now that I’m on day 4 of another migraine….who the heck knows. Right now, I’m very tired.
      xoxo

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  3. Oh Wen! You poor sweetheart! I was really beginning to worry about the neverending migraine! I’m so happy to see it’s finally letting up. That’s very good advice. I’ve absolutely had struggles of a new script making it worse. I just saw my neurologist and she mentioned keeping a migraine journal to see if I qualify for the new preventative. Thank you for sharing your experiences, it gives me hope! (for both of us!! gentle hugs love!!)

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    1. I’m extremely grateful for the respite I had, and I’m encouraged to know that I can have days without, but the migraine I mentioned having in the post has not let up after days of meds. damnit! They lessened it, but wowzers, it is right back up there. I’m getting a CTA on the 26th, same day I see my doc again. I’m tired Xunae, just so tired. I use the Migraine Buddy app to keep track of my migraines and all that stuff, it might come in handy if you are trying to do that. good luck. hugs and love my dear. xo

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  4. Wendy, I am so happy that you have found relief! You have been on my mind ever since I read your first post about your monster migraine and I am just elated that you are back to baseline. It’s crazy how careful we Chronics must be when altering anything at all in our daily living protocols. A change in medication, vitamin, supplement, diet, type of exercise can trigger a flare and we are completely at sea as to what we did differently. I believe a journal is imperative to keep track not only of medications but anything that could be a contributing factor to a flare. Bravo for figuring it out! ~ Wendy, I have been enjoying your blog so much. I hope you will consider accepting a nomination for Picnic With Ants for the Disability Blogger Award. It was created by Georgina from Chronillicles for those writing about Chronic Illness, Mental Illness, Special Needs and Disability. I think you are a perfect fit! Should you consider accepting, please visit SeeJayneRun,com when you have a free moment. My latest post will discuss the acceptance guidelines. Congratulations Wendy! Keep on keeping on! And fingers crossed you remain at baseline! Cheers! Jayne ❤

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    1. Thank you Jayne, you are awfully sweet!! I saw your post! I plan on accepting, but I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to post. As you might see in my post today, I’m migraining again. I just hate saying that. I’m having such weird feeling about this, I need to figure out how to put it in words so I can post about it, but I almost feel like I’m disappointing people because I’m still so symptomatic? I feel like I’m failing because the treatments aren’t working? Hard to describe. I think I’ve always had these underlying feelings, but I’m just trying to put a voice to them. They need to get out and get gone, they have no use in there! 🙂 Thanks again my dear! xoxo w

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      1. Wendy! I did just see that you are back to migraining! Damn! Hon, this isn’t a contest where you have to prove your worth by overcoming your pain! We all think far more of you for the challenges you face each day! We are all rooting for you and praying for you and championing you! No one is judging. You are not your pain. You have not chosen this. You are not less than because it is currently giving you a massive fight. You are more than because you are taking it one day at a time. Disappoint us? No! Amaze us? Yes, ma’am! There is no time limit on the award! Just know that I celebrate you and Picnic with Ants! ♥️ Jayne

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  5. Incredible! YAY! Yes, I get that you still get migraines… I can take opioids and I still have pain… but when we are managing those conditions, they are NOT managing us! I was just contacted by a ‘dude’ who wants me to review a medication thingy. I researched and researched… finally I caved and said I’d do it. More info on that later. The reason I bring this up is… if you would not have been a blogger, how would’ve you figured out what was going on? (My gosh, don’t ever quit being a blogger cause I would miss you too much, Wen!) But, there has to be some kind of a good tracker that could come with medications. Don’t you think? I’m going to figure out something because people do not fill out medication journals… it is really tough when you aren’t well and have to record this stuff. Believe me, when I’m in a fog, I must like to change passwords! Because when I come out of the fog… I can’t get into anything on my computer! Argh. Anyway, hurray and celebrate!!! xoxo

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