Overdosing Painkillers


When people suffering from migraine headaches get used to taking over doses of painkillers or sedatives they run the risk of settling in a monotonous routine that may be difficult to escape. This is particularly true because regular over dosage of sedative stimulates more headaches which consecutively lead to the need for more painkilling drugs. There are some unfortunate people who suffer from chronic or unceasing migraine and are in pain for most of the time than they are not. Recent researches have established that certain painkillers like narcotics or tranquilizers recommended by the physicians only help to enhance the risk of the patients suffering from migraine.

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The above statements may confuse many, but it is essential that one does not get a wrong idea from them. While proper treatment of migraine is of utmost importance, it is imperative to try and use medicines that help to prevent migraine in case the obstinate headaches occur repeatedly. Trying medicines that prevent migraine will help one to avoid falling into a monotonous cycle or rut that may ultimately prove to be detrimental for one's well being.

This may be considered as a timely warning for as of now around 30 million Americans suffer from migraines. It is interesting to note that during the vacation periods, intense pain grips these migraineurs frequently. And this is usually stimulated by absence of sleep, enticing extravagance and the nervous tension for journeying.

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In such situations, the head habitually keeps pounding on one side and this may continue for any length of time between three hours to three days. When such symptoms occur, the patients normally cannot endure light and sound as these gives rise to giddiness and acute nervousness. The patients' condition worsens if they are on movement. Interestingly, some people are able to anticipate the problem as they experience visual commotions such as seeing pinpoints of light or a very small or sharp point. However, if someone does not experience anything like this it does not mean he or she is not suffering from migraine.

In fact, for most such patients, migraines are a very frequently occurring misery and recent researches have found that at least 33 per cent of them experience acute pain so regularly that they should essentially go in for medications that help to prevent occurrence of migraines. The researchers are of the view that adopting such measures would reduce the rate of migraine attacks by at least half. Unfortunately, despite the advantages of the preventive medication merely 10% of patients having migraines use them. It must always be borne in the mind that relying on sensitive painkillers for more than a couple of days every week may lead to the overuse of the harmful medicines.

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According to Dr. Stephen Silberstein, a member of the Thomas Jefferson University and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology, apart from the few people who comprise the expertise community, most are still not acquainted with the perception of preventive medications for migraines. He says that that migraine has spread like an epidemic in the United States and people frequently suffer from severe headaches and take painkillers time and again finding themselves wrapped up in more tenderness.

In fact, if someone is using painkillers either on a medical practitioner's recommendation or by simply buying them over-the-counter, they have the risk of the headache bouncing back once they discontinue the use of the drugs.

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In the case of the patients suffering from migraine attacks more frequently, the brain increasingly becomes more receptive to soreness and hence their condition deteriorates further. When such patients suffer from pains for 15 days or more in a month, their case is said to be 'transformed migraine' meaning people suffering from chronic migraine. Although there is no precise figure available as to how many people in the United States are suffering from 'transformed' or chronic migraine, according to Dr. Richard Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the number could easily be in the region of five million. Dr. Lipton, who is the chief of New York's Montefiore Headache Center and has undertaken researches to ascertain if any specific medicine is related to this most awful case of soreness, further emphasizes that all efforts need to be made to keep away from the state of chronic migraine.

A research headed by Dr. Lipton monitored 8,200 patients who suffered from migraine sporadically for nearly a year and discovered that of the total cases, 2.5% deteriorated to a condition of chronic or transformed migraine. According to the findings of the study published by Dr. Lipton and his colleagues in the journal Headache, the condition of the migraine sufferers who took two different types of prescribed medications, including preparations enclosing narcotics like Percocet, or medicines comprising barbiturates like Fiorinal was almost certainly to deteriorate. It may be noted here that barbiturates are drugs with tranquilizer and mesmerizing properties and belong to a group of derivatives of barbituric acid. What is worse is that the research found that the menace amplified as the patients begin to take larger dosages.

The study found that simple pain relievers like acetaminophen to anti-inflammatories or drugs that reduced soreness and named NSAIDS that include ibuprofen, naproxen and some related drugs that are readily available over- the-counter were not related to chronic or transformed migraine. On the contrary, the study claims that NSAIDS also demonstrated an indication of safeguard from migraines. However, painkillers like triptans that are specifically prescribed for patients having migraines did not illustrate any risk factor when they were used in low or moderate dosages, but showed a tendency to become a threat if they were taken to get relieve from pain for more than 10 days a month.

Dr. Lipton has admitted that there are a number of patients suffering from acute migraine attacks who would require potent doses of narcotics or barbiturates. At the same time, he says that the truth is that most people suffering from migraines tend to overuse the painkillers and suggests that people should take these medications only if they really need them. Moreover, patients who are using them for genuine reasons should make an effort to check their weekly dosages.

Hence, you must remember that whether you have a chronic migraine or not any one overusing painkillers or using them frequently will find themselves in a rut and it will be extremely difficult for them to escape from the situation where there will be more headaches requiring them to take more medicines. It is virtually a vicious cycle that does not allow anyone to escape from its clutches easily.

Now, here is what headache specialists recommend. You should always ask for migraine prevention medicines and not painkillers. When you ask for a migraine prevention drug, you have a wide assortment of medications to choose from. These medications range from drugs that help to lower blood pressures and called beta-blockers to drugs that are prescribed for epilepsy patients and some other specific anti-depressants. It is important to note that all these drugs will have some or the other kind of side effect. There are a number of migraine patients who also try using Botox injections with a view to calm down overcharged or intense nerve endings.

Headache specialists also advise migraine patients to discontinue using the overused or stereotyped medicines and instead get steady to face an excruciating withdrawal process. In this situation, physicians may prescribe a number of temporary prescriptions to enable the patient to endure and overcome the agonizing abandonment process. In addition, the specialists suggest that the patients should maintain a headache diary to keep a precise record of the migraine catalysts and be trained to tackle as well as minimize such stimulants.


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