Posted by GRAHAM (22.214.171.124) on September 10, 1999 at 19:00:26:
Around two weeks ago I posted a message asking readers to comment on whether the headaches Ive had for four years were cluster headaches (I gave a detailed history of my condition with my message!). Every response I received indicated that I was indeed a sufferer. Since then I have been back to the specialist (who was unable to give a diagnosis of my condition, and subsequently referred me to a neurologist) to show him the responses I received, and information I had gathered about cluster headaches. My aims were simple. To see if he agreed with my opinion that I was indeed a cluster headache sufferer, and to obtain a prescription for a treatment that I could try while I was waiting to see the neurologist. He seemed to agree with my opinion that I was a cluster headache sufferer and I also obtained a prescription for Verapamil.
The main point of the post is to ask three questions regarding treatment, alcohol and what I should do next.
1 First of all I should tell you I am a chronic sufferer of just less than four years. I know that there is a good chance that the treatment my only be a temporary cure (i.e. if I come off Verapamil the headaches will come back). However, I would like to know if there is a chance that Verapamil, or any drug, could result in me becoming an episodic sufferer and enable me to come off medication for a given period of time?
2 I like to drink alcohol at the weekends (and before you ask-yes, I do get a monster headache when I do this-but it totally relieves the clusters the next day). When I started taking the Verapamil yesterday, I figured that I should lay off the alcohol for a while due to it being such a potent trigger. However, I would like to know if anyone out there has been able to resume the pain free drinking of alcohol during or after a drug treatment?
3 If the answer to the above question is yes. How long do you think I should leave it before I drink it again?
I hope you do not get the impression that I am an alcoholic, however, one of my enjoyments in life, after working long hours all week, is to go out at the weekends with my friends and enjoy the odd pint or ten. If stopping alcohol consumption would greatly increase the chance of curing my headaches, or even enable me to go into remission for a time, I would do so. However, if I were only to get a headache when I drank alcohol, I could live with that. An hour long level eight or nine cluster before I go out is often a price worth paying for a pain free night of shameful drinking (I drink some alcohol around two hours before I go out to get the cluster out of the way. Yes, sad I know!). After all, some people say that pleasure is always followed by pain!!!
Optimistic note: Sine starting the Verapamil on Thursday morning (and it is now currently a very sober midnight on Friday) I have had nothing more than a couple of very minute twinges in my temple and neck. I donít think Ive gone two days without a headache since they settled into a regular pattern three years ago.
Sorry for going on a bit!
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