I've seen so many posts about Imitrex injections, I feel it necessary to share this information with you. I've been informed that this information has been very useful to several of the people on the site who have seen the original post that I made about "Extending your Imitrex". Please note, this is just my personal experience with my Imitrex auto-injectors. I am NOT a doctor and I have no idea whether this information is legitimate as far as the "medical" part of it goes. I am simply a cluster headache sufferer who would like to pass on how I deal with one of the very few things that helps me with "the demon". Speak with your doctor about it before you try it for yourself.
Update - I've received several emails from people who have been able to get individual vials of Imitrex special ordered from their pharmacy instead of the auto-injectors. The individual vials can be used with single-use insulin needles so the following procedure wouldn't be necessary. Check with your physician and pharmacy about the availability of individual vials in your area.
Extending your Imitrex
**Special thanks to Anthony Carter who has created a PDF illustration of the steps below. Please click here to open/view/download the file**
Posted by DJ on June 11, 1999 at 11:22:04:
Those of us that depend on Imitrex to get through our headaches know:
1) how expensive it is
2) how hard it is to get in the quantities we need
3) that we are only SUPPOSED to take 2 shots in a 24 hour period (2 shots = 12 mg of solution)
4) that using it on a regular basis MAY cause some rebound headaches
I'd like to share a trick I use to "get around" some of the above listed points and extend the use of my precious Imitrex.
Please understand that I am NOT a physician so I have no authority to tell you to do this for yourself. I am simply giving you something to think about. Take the information for what it's worth. I just got so tired of fighting with my Doc about the number of kits he would prescribe to me.
Ok, to sort of "set the stage". I take the limit of two auto-injectors of Imitrex in a 24 hour period like this. Each syringe of Imitrex that I'm supposed to auto-inject myself with contains 6mg of solution. That means that the most solution that I'm "allowed" to inject into my system in a 24 hour period is 12mg. Follow me?
Here's what I do...
1) I load the bottom part of the injector pin (the part that has the syringe in it) just like I'm going auto-inject myself as normal.
2) Once it's out of the case, I unscrew the syringe part of the pin so that it is again in two pieces. This exposes the top rim of the syringe (barely sticking out of the bottom half).
3) I use my fingernail to pull the syringe out of it's holder. I now have the syringe all by itself in my hand.
4) I remove the label from the syringe (or peel it back) so I can see the amount of solution is in the syringe.
5) I manually put the needle in my arm and use a Q-tip to manually push approx. one-third (2mg) of solution into my system (2mg - 3mg depending on the severity of the CH)
6) For those of you who don't like needles much, this may sound like torture, but it's not that bad. Really. It's a helluva lot easier than suffering from the attack!
I've experimented with the amount of solution to give myself but have found that one third of the syringe at a time will get rid of my headache in approximately the same amount of time that the full 6mg at once (maybe just a few minutes longer). The important part of doing it this way is... now my Imitrex kit that is supposed to last for only TWO headaches can get me through SIX headaches and I still don't go over the 12mg limit in a 24 hour period!!
Cutting down on the amount I use for each headache also seems to cut down on some of the rebound headaches that I noticed when I injected the entire 6mg at once.
What do you think the chances of us getting Glaxo Wellcome to manufacture some 2mg and 3mg auto-injectors for us cluster sufferers is? LOL, yeah, right.
If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to email me.