I have fought paralyzing migraines for years and they are usually managed by Migraleve tablets. But my doctor tells me that there is a national shortage of medicines. Are there suitable alternatives?
It is estimated that around six million Britons regularly suffer from migraine. Migraleve has been one of the most popular treatments for several years.
The drug is available in two versions – yellow and pink. The pink tablets are taken at the start of the headache and contain a combination of two painkillers – codeine and acetaminophen.
Pink also contain an extra ingredient against nausea that helps with the other symptoms of migraine. The yellow is taken later if the headache does not fade.
Both forms of the drug are very effective and many patients feel that they provide the relief they need. But since the summer of 2018, there has been an aggravating deficit – I have seen that many patients have been denied access to the drug for more than a year.
It is estimated that about six million Britons regularly suffer from migraine (stock image)
However, there are alternatives from your doctor that are just as effective. These include commonly used drugs known as triptans, in the form of pills, nasal sprays and even waffles that melt on the tongue.
They should be taken as soon as you feel a migraine and may not work during an aura – patients also experience flashing lights, blind spots or tingling in the hands and face.
Drugs for nausea, such as prochlorperazine and metoclopramide, are also available by prescription and may help some patients. Topiramate, often given to treat epilepsy, can also help.
Otherwise, beta-blockers that are sometimes used to treat anxiety – such as propranolol – may be effective.
- This article has been updated. In the original article it was advised to first take the yellow tablet. In fact, the pink tablet is first taken and the yellow tablet later if the symptoms persist.
In the past year I have noticed that my left eyelid started to hang. It doesn’t affect my vision, but my doctor says I just have to wait and see what happens. Do I have to worry?
A drooping eyelid is usually caused by a condition called ptosis. The muscle involved in opening the eyelid stops working effectively, leaving it partially closed. It is not only a cosmetic problem – it also interferes with eyesight, depending on how much your eyelid opens. It can also cause unpleasant eye fatigue and pain.
Ptosis can occur later in life, simply due to aging and weakening of the muscles, or due to an injury. But there can also be other serious causes, such as nerve diseases, a stroke or a tumor that affects the nerve or muscles of the eyelid.
If no underlying cause is found, surgery to correct ptosis is usually performed, especially if vision is impaired. During the operation the muscle is corrected, so that the eyelid functions again. Much more often drooping eyelids are not caused by nerve or muscle damage, but by excess skin of the upper eyelid.
The eyelid is covered more, sagged by age or sun damage. It is considered a cosmetic problem and treated with an operation called blepharoplasty. However, this is usually not offered on the NHS unless vision is impaired.
Privately run, it can cost between £ 2,000 and £ 6,000.
Whatever the cause of a drooping eyelid, surgery is the only option. It is important for a doctor to confirm the cause, because the underlying problem can be serious.
Babs is right when he fights against dementia
I welcome Dame Barbara Windsor for her position against the shocking contempt of the government for Alzheimer’s patients
I welcome Dame Barbara Windsor for her position against the shocking contempt of the government for Alzheimer’s patients.
The 82-year-old former EastEnders actress, pictured left, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2014, is set to march down Downing Street to request a petition investing in social care – a lifeline for her and millions of others.
My heart sinks for my dementia patients. It is ridiculous that hardly any provisions have been made for patients with this cruel disease.
Instead, patients, many of whom live alone, have to finance their own care.
I have seen desperate families forced to sell their homes, or family members forced to give up their jobs and become caretakers themselves.
When social services intervene, staff is often too tense to spend enough time on patients. Some are already running away after ten minutes.
And the problem is only getting worse – more than a million of us will have the disease by 2025.
I just hope those on No 10 Downing Street listen.
A serious outbreak of gender bias
I am not surprised that women are delayed longer before being diagnosed than men, as was revealed last week. Nearly 500,000 British women undergo 11 GP appointments before making a correct diagnosis, according to statistics collected by law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp. Only a third of the men experienced the same shocking delays.
Many doctors see conditions such as heart disease – one of the UK’s biggest killers – as “male problems,” so don’t suspect it among women.
Some female patients are diagnosed with a menstrual pain diagnosis or a “hormonal” problem.
And women are much more likely to stand in front of the family and deal with painful symptoms for far too long.
We women must be aware of gender bias and not accept no.
The last shortage of medicines concerns the contraceptive pill. Last week reports of national shortages of generally prescribed brands such as Loestrin and Cilest came forward.
My advice to those affected is NOT to go to your doctor for answers. Instead, ask a pharmacist what other types of pills are available and then go to your doctor to get an alternative prescription. Fortunately there are many different brands.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR DR ELLIE?
Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT. Dr. Ellie can only respond in a general context and cannot respond to individual cases or give personal answers.
Always consult your own doctor if you are concerned about health.