Posted by Jack Boyd (220.127.116.11) on September 02, 1999 at 17:15:24:
In Reply to: Verapamil posted by doris on September 01, 1999 at 23:34:08:
Probably the best of the preventatives if you are fortunate enough to have it work for you. If it works, it really works and other than constipation there are usually no real side effects ( short term or long term ).
I am episodic and have been using it for 11 years.
I take it when a cycle starts and stop as soon as I know my cycle is over. I always know when my cycle is finished. Take the slow release variety. The other type was implicated in cancer ( one study said that there was a slightly higher incidence of cancer in long term users of verapamil - quickly refuted in another study - and as Doc Greg has said "nothing to worry about ), but just to be sure take the slow release variety..
The other caveat is that verapamil has had a negative effect on people with heart failure.
Congestive heart failure is a seious life threatening condition and verapmil made it worse. If you are otherwise healthy and do not have heart failure do not worry.
Verapamil works by relaxing blood vessels and preventing constriction - if there is no constriction there is no dilaion. Dilation causes the pain of clusters. Like everything in nature our blood vessels seek equilibrium. Abortives usually constrict - interrupting the dilation process. The calcium component simply means that are cells need calcium to constrict and if the calcium in our cells is limited the blood vessels will not constrict and raise our blood pressure ( calcium channel blockers are used to treat hypertension).
Drummer and I were chatting the other day and we agreed that Verapamil should be the drug of first choice as a preventative. So if your Dr. suggested the verapamil he may know what he is talking about. In treating clusters ( or anything else for that matter ) the rule should be to use the most benign medication that can actually work - and I believe that is verapamil.
Sorry to sound lke a verapmil salesman but it has vastly improved the quality of my life.
I wish you well.
Do your own research and trust no one (including me ) when it comes to medication - gather the facts about efficacy and side effects and make an informed decision regarding risk and reward.
Sorry for the lengthy post but I am into verapamil.
PS - I have been told (but have not first hand experience) that there is a stronger calcium channel blocker called Calan that may also work.
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