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Supplements for headaches
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DUKE MEDICINE
Timothy Collins, MD posted:
A lot of my patients ask about herbal supplements for headaches.

There are very few studies of supplements for headaches, but there are 2 or 3 things that do have pretty good evidence for migraine prevention:

Vitamen B2 (riboflavin)---this works OK for headache prevention, but you have to take 200 mg twice a day for it to work. There was a clinical trial in 1996 that showed this was better than placebo at migraine prevention.

Butterbur Root Extract (also called Petadolux, plant name is petasites hybridus)--There was a nice stude in 2004 that showed this was effective for migraine prevention. The dose is 50 mg 3 times a day (or 150 mg/day). This occasionally causes an upset stomach, but I have not had other complaints of side effects from patients.

Co Enzyme Q10: This had a nice study done in 2004 showing it was effective for headache prevention. Unfortunately they used a form not on the marked. I've suggested using 100 mg 2 or 3 tiems a day to patients. This medication is kind of expensive, so not very many of my patients have tried it.
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manymigraines responded:
Dr
I just read about butterbur for the first time today. One website said it can cause liver toxicity and can be carcinogenic. It also said to get it PA free. What do you think of this? Also does this help with tension headaches also as I have both. Is it something you take for the rest of your life if it works?
 
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carpetcrawler5 responded:
Yeah my take on the whole thing is: I tried the Riboflavin, and it didn't help me, even though my dr had told me to take 400 mgs. I took it for quite a while, but it did nothing. But that's just me, I don't respond well to anything headache-wise. Tried the Butterbur root, and I started noticing daily stomach pain, like when I was taking Bextra. This is something to note because does that mean all anti-inflammatories can cause stomach issues? I had to take my Nexium more often. I probably won't know if it would have ever worked because I couldn't get past the stomach upset. Again, everyone is different. Did breifly try the CoEnzyme Q10. But wow, expensive. I ended up not being able to afford it.

But you know, if they actually did a STUDY, and on a supplement or herb, that's refreshing because they aren't doing enough of those on that type of thing. The whole reason nobody knows whether something will help or not is because the Feds don't do studies on them. You could get one herb from one company and the same herb from another, and not be sure you got the same dose, or whether they picked it at the right time, etc.

I might go back and get the Co Q, and try it again if they did a study on it, hopefully it was double-blind.
 
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manymigraines replied to carpetcrawler5's response:
Carpetcrawler5.
You sound like me. It seems like I have tried everything and nothing helps herbally. Tried the riboflavin too, feverfew, CoQ10 and none help. I just wondered if butterbur helped many and about side effects. I take anti-inflammatories already along with a muscle relaxant when I am having a real bout of migraines and headaches so maybe the butterbur would be too much. Even things to get rid of tension headaches and migraines don't do much for me. I guess I should be happy the more expensive things for migraines don't work since $19 a pill which does not always work is a rough thing to do.
 
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An_204994 responded:
I am on a regiment that include the b-2 (riboflavin) Co Enzyme Q10 and Magnesium. Along with a few prescriptions. I have hemiplegic migraines. I have found that things have improved. I still have the head aches daily and migains 3 times a week but the Hemipalegic migains are less. I have never heard of Butter Root Extract and I already have stomach issue so I dont think I will go down that road.

Thanks for the info.
 
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Donna03865 responded:
Out tomorrow to buy them all
 
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KittyClaire16 responded:
I am curious as to why you don't mention taking Magnesium? I thought his was a pretty standard treatment.
 
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catlee_101 responded:
One thing that I use when the headaches hit is peppermint oil. I apply to the area that is hurting. The smell and the tingle seem to override the pain receptors for a bit. You have to reapply about every 30/45mins, but its a natural way to alleviate some of the pain... when it works.
 
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tristatygus responded:
My husband has a headache in the top of his head when he bends over or has to cough. He also has intermittent pain in the temples more often and toward the back of the head. He had a MRI and was told it was normal and was put on 2 tablets daily of Amitriptyline 10 mg. He went back in a month and was given a prescription of Topiramate 15mg sprinkle CTEV which has many side effects. He has not taken this medication as the doctor could not tell him why he was having the headaches. He is taking Feverfew and applying peppermint oil to the temples and also drinking peppermint tea and after reading your information will start COQ-10 to see if this will give him some relief.
Any help would be appreciated as he is very sedentary and in front of the computer daily reading since the headaches started about 6 months ago. He just had an eye exam and it was good and did not need new glasses.
He also uses a C-PAP at night and don't know if it is working correctly and want to make sure it is ok. It seems a lot of air is coming out around the mask he wears and think it needs to checked but do not know what to check for. Could it cause some of the headaches he is having if it is not working correctly?
 
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carpetcrawler5 replied to tristatygus's response:
Not sure if anything that's helped by the CPAP would cause headaches, but I will say that it is much more likely that whatever the dr gave him that he didn't take will work before an over-the-counter herb will. It has not been proven that co-q works for people who get migraines, although some people have had improvement with it. On top of that it's quite espensive.

Much of the time migraines aren't caused by anything except hereditary issues. The best thing to do is to work with your dr, and if he or she can't help you, ask for a referal to a headache spec/neurologist who can help quite a bit in most cases.
 
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tristatygus replied to carpetcrawler5's response:
The doctor did not say what kind of headache it is but I do not think it is migraine. When he has pain it is in the temples and a little beyond and in the top of the head when he bends over and coughs. He started on 300mg COQ-10 today and hope that will work and if not it still is good for the body.
We are going to change his doctor for the next appointment and see if they will try to find out what is causing the headaches. The one he has now did not know what was wrong and gave him the stronger medication. If they will take time and explain the medication and what to look for would be much better and we could get a better understanding on what to expect with the medication.
 
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itmatsb replied to manymigraines's response:
The kind of butterburr root that the physician mentioned, Petadolex, is PA free. It is investigated by the German government, which the U.S. government does not regulate any herbal medications.

And as to someone else's concerns about stomach pain. That should be avoided if you take it with a meal. I only had stomach pain one time when I didn't take it with enough food.

And it has improved my migraines.


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