Cyproheptadine for Migraine Prevention

The entire time I’ve been on cyproheptadine (about seven weeks), I’ve alternated between wanting to gush to you about it and feeling an immense need to keep quiet, lest I put its effect in jeopardy. I’m more superstitious about this medication and its efficacy than a starting pitcher in the seventh game of the World Series. I fret over the strangest things, afraid that any change in my symptoms or dose could mean an end to the relief.

Cyproheptadine is not new or novel; in fact, the brand name version, Periactin, is no longer made. It is an old antihistamine often used to children with migraine. I tried it a couple years ago and, although it is known for causing drowsiness and is sometimes used as a sleep aid, it made me jittery and unable to sleep. That first trial lasted only a couple days. This past summer I was so fatigued (turns out I was deficient in vitamins D and B12) that I decided maybe the side effects I experienced on cyproheptadine the first time would be welcome.

This time I had the more typical side effects of drowsiness and increased appetite, but also had an immediate reduction in the severity of migraine pain. The side effects were the strongest the first week I started the medication. I’ve increased the dose twice and each time have noticed the side effects for two or three days before they disappear. So far, I’m two pounds heavier than when I started.

Cyproheptadine’s maximum dose is 36 mg; I’m on 12, where I plan to stay for at least another month to see if I get any further benefit the longer I’m on the dose. For now, I’m enjoying many days where the pain ranges between a level 2 and 4. Only twice in the last month has the pain reached level 6 and I’ve even had a couple hours at level 1. At least, I think it was — I have no memory of what level 1 feels like.

This is the land of rainbows and unicorns!

22 Responses to Cyproheptadine for Migraine Prevention

  1. Sue says:

    *quietly whispered* Hooray for rainbows and unicorns!

    (I totally understand the superstitious nature of life in migraine land)

  2. doing a tentative whoop whoop for you!! Also a very good advert for showing that just because a preventative didn’t work in the past doesn’t mean it’s not worth another go – and that sometimes it can be worth sticking out bearable side effects I guess! Fingers and toes crossed for you!!

  3. Thanks for the quiet, cautious celebration!

    And you make a great point, Victoria. I forgot to mention in the post that I’ve tried three dozen medications and supplements to no avail. Many people think they’ve tried everything after three or four meds. Oh no, there are many more options and you never know which one will work.

    Take care,

  4. saaraah says:

    I am so so so happy for you! I haven’t heard of that medication before.. hmmm Anyway, I’m thrilled that you’re seeing improvements.

  5. Bibi says:

    Yabadoo – great to hear from another migraineur, that antihistamines work well :-))
    I’m on my 5th year now with Sandomigran and it still helps me.

    Thanx for all your posts on magnesium! It saves me from nasty rebound headaches.

  6. Veronica says:

    Any migraineur here suffer with perfume induced migraines? If so, what do you do about it as far as working in the public with people wearing perfume?

    Definitely talk to your boss about it. This is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Take a look at this information about migraineurs, perfumed coworkers, and the ADA:

    Best of luck!

  7. Mary Ann Dunkin says:

    Just saw this website. It’s great.

  8. Barbie says:

    can I ask what dosage you are on now – and if you take it in AM or PM or both?….

  9. Paula says:

    I have been on 12 MG per night for two weeks. So far it’s fantastic! first relief I’ve had in four years of horrible headaches nearly daily. I also take coffee and two advil if I feel even a tinge of pain it works.

  10. Bruce Franco says:

    If Periactin helps a child’s migraines, would Claritin also help?… would make more sense if you could give the child Periactin at night and Claritan during the day.

  11. Mary Conlon says:

    Entirely relate to the superstitious thing it’s what I do too. Fingers and toes crossed for you! Great website. Got on to Cyproheptadine via Migraine Trust. Just about to look for a supply here in the Land Of Oz! Keep up the great work.

  12. Bre Jenkins says:

    My neurologist has me on cyproheptadine. I am on 4mg currently and it hasn’t helped. I have been trying for six years for a medication that works to prevent or treat my migraines. I have migraines almost everyday. Are there any medications that you have had luck to prevent or treat migraines?

  13. Pauline Kennedy says:

    Good to feel that I’m not alone with this curse.

  14. Karen Briggs says:

    I went off of the Cyproheptadine. It put 25 lbs on me in 2 months and didn’t help with the headaches.

    I have since lost the weight but had to go on a medical weight loss plan. I am just starting Lyrica.


  15. Craig Flory says:

    I stumbled across your article when I googled cyproheptadine. I’ve just started and am also cautiously hoping it will help my daily headaches. How quickly did you dose up to 12 mg?

  16. PSmriti says:

    I am taking cycloheptadin 10mg (half a tablet) per day from last year. My doctor said i can take this medicine as long as i need for my whole life. I have chronic gastritis problem too. After using this medicine my apitite increased and i started to feel better with gastritis because of eating most of the time. I gain 5 pounds too. But now i am planning to have baby and want to stop this medicine as it is not clearly known if it is ok to have this medicine during pregnancy. I stopped to take this medicine 1week ago i was fine. But after 1 week i started to have stomach pain, acidity, fullness of stomach and bloating and i loss apitite too. I am confused that was this medicine helping me for my gastic problem and migration both? And what should i do now. Is it ok to tke this medicine life long?? Or how long is ok?? Please anybody who have an idea about it…i need suggestions. …

  17. Bronwyn says:

    I’ve just been prescribed it both for migraines and IBS. I am already on Topamax, which worked for a while, but the migraines are getting worse (with associated vomiting), and despite a neurostimulator in my sacrum and watching my diet, the IBS is almost unmanageable. I was excited about it until I read about the weight gain. I’ve already lost a lot of weight and have more I’d like to do. I can’t do heavy exercise due to multiple surgeries, so just wondering about that side of things. Anyway, at this stage I am desperate enough to try anything. Thanks for writing about this amazing drug. Good to hear it is worth trying!

  18. Kimberly says:

    I am 17 and after a year of doctors scratching their heads I finally was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with abdominal migraines. The periactin (4mg) daily has prevented the episodes which were occurring 3 or 4times a week for the past 5 YEARS! But, I take in the morning since it makes me hyper, not SLEEPY! I’m told I will go on to experience migraine headaches as I get older. Ohjoy.I hope this medicine keeps them at bay!

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