Author | Richard Wenzel, PharmD

Articles

Woman With Daily Headaches That Have Become Refractory to Triptans

January 01, 2007

A 30-year-old woman complains that her headaches no longer respond to triptans; instead, they have increased in frequencyand severity. The pain interferes with her ability to work part-time and to take care of her 16-month-old daughter.

Prescribing for Headache

December 31, 2006

A 30-year-old woman complains that her headaches no longer respond to triptans; instead, they have increased in frequencyand severity. The pain interferes with her ability to work part-time and to take care of her 16-month-old daughter.About 12 years earlier, the patient started having migraine headaches. She had no significant medical history, norwas there any obvious precipitating event. Typically, she had 1 or 2 debilitating headaches a month. These were accompaniedby photophobia, nausea, and vomiting-but not by auras. Oral triptans usually relieved the pain and associatedsymptoms within 1 hour.

Woman With Dull Daily Headaches and Episodic “Knockout” Attacks

December 31, 2006

A 40-year-old woman reports increasingly frequent and severe headaches during the past few months. She has had boutsof severe headaches since college, and episodic migraine was diagnosed a decade ago. She uses over-the-counter products(ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or aspirin) at the onset of an attack; if these fail to relieve symptoms, she takes hydrocodone/acetaminophen. During her worst attacks, she is typically forced to halt her activities, is unable to eat or drink, and mayvomit. For unresponsive or persistent (more than 24-hour) attacks, her husband drives her to the urgent care centerfor intravenous hydration, intramuscular promethazine, and additional doses of hydrocodone/acetaminophen. Accordingto the patient, a visit to the urgent care center “completely ruins our day.”

When Are OTC Analgesics Appropriate for Acute Migraine?

February 01, 2003

A 34-year-old woman complains of headaches that interfere with work. Her first headache episode, approximately 6 yearsearlier, was relatively mild. Initially, she experienced attacks only once every 3 to 4 months and managed them effectivelywith over-the-counter (OTC) agents. However, in the last 6 months the attacks have become more frequent-they occur atleast twice a month-and are so severe that she misses work.