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Drug Overdose Warning!


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Now that I have your attention, I would like to talk about a very important topic that doesn't get enough air time.

That topic is the risks and dangers of taking to much prescription medications for Cluster Headaches (and or other headaches, or at least in my case).

Every time the doc gives us a new prescription to try, there is always (at least in the UK) a sheet of paper tucked inside detailing what the medicine will do, and the possible side effects. It will also talk about what to do incase you overdose on the medicine and associated risks. [note: I often refer to doctor prescribed meds as 'drugs'. This is an Americanism, and I apologies in advance to my British and European friends.]

The problem is, many of the drugs doctors give us are pretty powerful. It's also a sad fact that most doctors really just do not get how bad or how frequent our attacks are. It's easy, very easy, to get slammed by the Cluster Demon and take the abortive the doctor gave you each time. Even though we aren't suppose to use more than 3 a week, we go through 5 a day.

And I get it! The pain is so bad that we say to ourselves 'damn the consequences'.

I know of at least one member now suffering pretty serious heart conditions because of doing just that. I would like to be clear, this isn't a condemnation of anyone who does this, but I think it's an important subject to talk about.

After all, I'm as guilty as the next person for not taking the warnings on medicine packets seriously enough. As most of you know, I have daily chronic headaches. It is not uncommon for me to take Anadin 2 or 3 times a day, and I routinely take it 5-10 times a week. Add to that countless triptans and codeine for my migraines, and I know I'm risking some pretty dangerous levels. I've already seen the result of this in the form of rebound headaches.

So, a few questions for you:

Do you read the warnings when the doctor gives you a new med?

Do you research it further by looking it up on the internet?

Do you ignore the warnings?

What could we, as a community, do better to help people understand the risks?

There are already some fine posts out there like this one: https://www.clusterheadaches.com/cb/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1426612782 - but I think we need more.

I also worry that for those of us who have broken away from taking doctor prescribed meds, and are relying solely on busting or other home-grown remedies and vitamins, to forget that this is a very real and important topic for most people with our condition.

MG

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So, a few questions for you:

Do you read the warnings when the doctor gives you a new med?

Do you research it further by looking it up on the internet?

Do you ignore the warnings?

#1 Not really, since I feel that they are more of disclaimers written in by pharmaceutical attorneys.

#2 Definitely.  Every time I am prescribed a new drug, I research it and the side effects on the most reliable sites I can find BEFORE filling the script.

#3 I always try to heed the warnings, especially as they pertain to my particular health problems and look for any interactions that may be in play with whatever else I am taking, be it prescribed or otherwise.

What could we, as a community, do better to help people understand the risks?

There are already some fine posts out there like this one: https://www.clusterheadaches.com/cb/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1426612782 - but I think we need more.

Thanks MG for reemphasizing this!  I too, think that we need to pay more attention to this.

Great post!!!   [smiley=thumbup.gif] [smiley=thumbup.gif] [smiley=thumbup.gif]

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So, a few questions for you:

Do you read the warnings when the doctor gives you a new med?

Do you research it further by looking it up on the internet?

Do you ignore the warnings?

1 Yes, definitely

2 Yes, Always (I more often throw prescriptions in the garbage after researching side effects than those I keep and take).

3 No, Never ignore warnings

I rarely ever take prescriptions any longer.  The garbage the docs gave me over the years for my CH was a REAL wake-up call that doctors don't really know what they're doing.  They just know how to write prescriptions with their hand out for money from you AND money from the drug companies.  Sad state of affairs the pharmaceutical companies have turned our medical system into.

EDIT:  I have to make a small edit.  Before I was properly diagnosed with CH I took Tylenol by the handful sometimes.  I didn't care what it did to my body or killed me, I just wanted the pain to stop.  I have no idea why the HUGE amount of acetaminophen didn't damage my liver / kidneys etc, but I guess I got lucky.

J

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Do you read the warnings when the doctor gives you a new med?

Do you research it further by looking it up on the internet?

Do you ignore the warnings?

1) Um...sometimes...from what I remember that info can seem like a huge load of legal fine print boilerplate warnings to comply with laws here in the US, or just a case of lawsuit averse lawyers going hog wild trying to cover every base and create work for themselves, but whatever the case, I'm a bit out of the pharmaceutical loop....thank gawsh....since adopting busting instead of toxic pharma for CH.

2) Yes, sometimes to the nth degree

3) Back when on pharma, I looked at the risks, weighed them against the specter of unrelieved CH attacks, and if the risks were particularly ominous/dangerous.....I would say screw it and still go ahead and risk it anyway. :o

Examples:

At high cycle I was injecting five 6mg imitrex shots a day (back before I knew 3mg was a plenty strong dose), right when media reports about coma and death from imitrex were peaking (mid/late 90's). I was charging up a helluva credit card bill at the Tijuana farmacias I would cross the border to visit for imitrex, available there without prescription.

Or taking sustained high doses of prednisone despite reading it could cause me to need to be on dialysis for the rest of my life (I don't know if I had even read that right, but now I know too many CH'ers who've needed hip replacements courtesy prednisone, and it sure walloped my immune system after tapering off of it, a known side effect that still treats me to repercussions 26 years later).

So my drug risks offered mixed results. I don't know if I'll get off scott free without any imitrex heart issues catching up to me many years after my imitrex abuse. I do have to say imitrex saved my arse for a couple cycles back when busting and 100% high flow O2 weren't known options. Yes I did experience more attacks per day - just as I do if aborting with O2. Here's the thing about that though: I still made it through an entire approx. 11 week cycle without a single attack ever going full blown. And I was never aware of a single side effect from imitrex, which makes me lucky, as that sure isn't the case with everyone.

I'm mainly critical of imitrex because of what I've seen others experience, especially the spate of recent reports of SERIOUS heart issues, but not from my own experience.

I think the fact that we can be so desperate to quell the beast that we'll take scarily risky amounts of prescription dugs is a good reason for all CH'ers to be well informed about the busting alternative.

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Do you read the warnings when the doctor gives you a new med?

Do you research it further by looking it up on the internet?

Do you ignore the warnings?

1) Um...sometimes...from what I remember that info can seem like a huge load of legal fine print boilerplate warnings to comply with laws here in the US, or just a case of lawsuit averse lawyers going hog wild trying to cover every base and create work for themselves, but whatever the case, I'm a bit out of the pharmaceutical loop....thank gawsh....since adopting busting instead of toxic pharma for CH.

2) Yes, sometimes to the nth degree

3) Back when on pharma, I looked at the risks, weighed them against the specter of unrelieved CH attacks, and if the risks were particularly ominous/dangerous.....I would say screw it and still go ahead and risk it anyway. :o

Examples:

At high cycle I was injecting five 6mg imitrex shots a day (back before I knew 3mg was a plenty strong dose), right when media reports about coma and death from imitrex were peaking (mid/late 90's). I was charging up a helluva credit card bill at the Tijuana farmacias I would cross the border to visit for imitrex, available there without prescription.

Or taking sustained high doses of prednisone despite reading it could cause me to need to be on dialysis for the rest of my life (I don't know if I had even read that right, but now I know too many CH'ers who've needed hip replacements courtesy prednisone, and it sure walloped my immune system after tapering off of it, a known side effect that still treats me to repercussions 26 years later).

So my drug risks offered mixed results. I don't know if I'll get off scott free without any imitrex heart issues catching up to me many years after my imitrex abuse. I do have to say imitrex saved my arse for a couple cycles back when busting and 100% high flow O2 weren't known options. Yes I did experience more attacks per day - just as I do if aborting with O2. Here's the thing about that though: I still made it through an entire approx. 11 week cycle without a single attack ever going full blown. And I was never aware of a single side effect from imitrex, which makes me lucky, as that sure isn't the case with everyone.

I'm mainly critical of imitrex because of what I've seen others experience, especially the spate of recent reports of SERIOUS heart issues, but not from my own experience.

I think the fact that we can be so desperate to quell the beast that we'll take scarily risky amounts of prescription dugs is a good reason for all CH'ers to be well informed about the busting alternative.

Great post Jeebs!

8-)

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Thanks Alley O  :),

And speaking of pharmaceutical risks, so many of us have been noticing the sudden absence of Fabalicious here on the message board, missing her positivity and hugs, and wondering what's up....well it turns out the doctors are telling her she indeed has heart damage and has to take it VERY easy for a while until they can get a handle on things. She can't even go on the message board. :( The way I understand it large quantities of Imitrex in her not too distant past are being blamed.  :o :'(

Looking forward to the day when she can get back on here, and really hoping she can make the kind of full recovery from heart damage that J eventually has over the years since ditching the pharma.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do you read the warnings when the doctor gives you a new med?

no but i will do from now on out

Do you research it further by looking it up on the internet?

vaguely in the past but far more thoroughly now

Do you ignore the warnings?

thoroughly in the past but far more vaguely now  :-X

bliss wishes to fabalicious , look fwd to finding fab's posts

Also.. I find myself viewing natural medicine as medicine and Dr's prescripted drugs as 'drugs' and im in uk  : 3

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  • 2 weeks later...

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. Yes, but only after consulting my GP. My Verapamil dose for example has been high and I had to personally trial dose/dosing regimes until I hit the sweet spot. Taking much more than is recommended.

I never take counter painkillers anymore. Or prescribed ones. Got drawers full of them. Before proper diagnosis I rinsed ibuprofen and paracetamol. Ate them like sweets. Very dangerous. Probably did some damage to my liver/stomach/gut in that time. Glad I don't do that anymore.

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