A migraine is defined as a painful, throbbing or pulsing headache that usually happens on just one side of the head, but can spread pain symptoms down through the neck and weaken the entire body, making patients unable to move due to fear of exacerbating the pain in the head. Migraines are usually associated with secondary symptoms like extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. The pain of a migraine can last for many hours and even days at their most severe without treatment. The pain is often described as being so relentless that a completely dark and quiet room is needed to get away from light and sound and be able to lie down in one spot until the pain resides.
People who suffer from chronic migraines will sometimes have a warning sign, a preceding symptom called an aura. This is characterized by flashes of light, arm tingling, or blind spots in the vision. It is at these early signs that patients who know what is coming take preventative measures and medications.
Unfortunately, migraines cannot be cured completely; however, symptoms can be managed successfully with the use of medications. While Elavil (amitriptyline) is technically classified as a tricyclic antidepressant and used mainly for mood disorders, it is also used for treatment of chronic pain syndromes, including migraines. Rather than treating the symptoms, however, it is more useful as a preventative medication to avoid getting them all together.
Scientists have yet been able to pinpoint how Elavil is so successful in treating migraine headaches and other pain conditions, but they believe it has something to do with the regulation of the neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. It is highly suspected that fluctuations in serotonin levels are partially responsible for migraine headaches and chronic symptoms, so it does not present much of a surprise that Elavil, which regulates this chemical, is successful is preventing migraine occurrences completely.
The down side to Elavil (amitriptyline) is that it has several side effects that could be worse than the actual migraine. These include, but are not limited to, drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, worsened headache, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and nightmares just to name a few. While Elavil (amitriptyline) is an excellent preventative treatment measure for migraines, it’s generally better to try it only after other treatment regimens have been attempted and did not prove successful.
Choosing a proper treatment and preventative regimen or routine will depend highly on the patient’s medical history, frequency and severity of migraines, as well as how debilitating the migraines become. Elavil does not react well with certain medications and medical conditions, so be sure to discuss with your doctor all history and medication use before taking Elavil.