Sunday, October 9, 2011

The "You Can't Be Serious" Rant

If you're a migraine sufferer, you know that migraines aren't just headaches. They're neurological events with symptoms that can arise 24 or more hours before the pain hits. Depending on how your symptoms manifest, you may spend a day being unusually clumsy - walking into doorframes, dropping things more than usual, misjudging distances - or as symptoms begin, you may hear ringing in your ears. You may experience visual aura (which is the medical way to say 'can't see') as the blood vessels in your eyes spasm.

The really scary migraines mimic stroke. You can't think of words, or you speak to say 'going to take a bath' and it comes out gibberish. You can *hear* it came out wrong, but no matter how you try, you can't get the correct words out of your mouth.

Have I established a picture for you? Migraine = bad. A person suffering a migraine is neurologically impaired over and above the pain and nausea associated with the killer headache.

Modern medical technology created drugs to stop migraines cold. For those of us who are very, very lucky, those drugs work miracles. Take a pill and within 20 minutes to an hour, the pain and nausea are gone. So, too, are most of the neurological symptoms.

Here's the rant. Miracle drugs for migraine sufferers - life is good, right? Except, how do the geniuses at the drug companies choose to package their medications for people who are in the midst of suffering a *neurological event that may leave them blind and shaking from the pain*? Sealed in itty bitty blister packs. You have to peel backing from the pack in order to punch the pill out. This entails getting a fingernail beneath a tiny sliver of plastic coated aluminum. And you're supposed to do this while you can't see. While you're so sick you wish you could die. While the signal processing between your brain and the rest of your body is returning a 'all circuits are busy, please try your call again later' message.

It's as if the drug companies got together over beers and someone said, "Hey! You know what would be really funny? Put these great migraine meds in packs that no one actually suffering a migraine could possibly get into! Ha ha! Isn't that a riot?"  And they were all drunk enough to agree.

I'm lucky. I live with someone who doesn't suffer migraines and who is more than willing to peel blister packs for me. But let me tell you. When he's not home and a headache hits? Yeah, drug companies. Are your collective ears burning? That's this migraine sufferer. Cursing you.


  1. Call the pharma's customer service number. Insist on being connected to someone who will at least make a record of your call. Give them your feedback. Do not swear at them or they will hang up on you. Do this when you are *not* having a migraine. Oh. And take the pills out of their blister pack and put them in a pill bottle. (Ask the pharma person first if this will hurt their efficacy.) Do this when you are not having a migraine. Follow up with a snail mail letter. These actions will not prevent a migraine but they may help you feel better. Been there.

  2. I've heard similar complaints from seniors, who don't have the dexterity and eyesight to get past the packaging for medications to help them with dexterity and eyesight.

  3. Argh, the blister pack! I harbor similar loathing for the inhalant migraine treatment. "Rip metal ring off of rubber stopper." Rip. Metal.

  4. KAK - I have a cat who would help you with that...she *bites* through metal. Let me tell you about the time we had to replace one of the metal water supply pipes in the bathroom because it had a fang hole in it...

  5. :hugs: Sorry to hear you have migraines. Blister packs are mean when you really need meds and can't get to them. I've taken scissors to them before, if that helps.

  6. I can almost see your expression when you realized fang was the cause of the leak. ~tries not to laugh~ ~fails~

  7. Ugh. I loathe the blister pack, as well. I really wish that drug companies would give people some options with that stuff.