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I think Zicam is causing my migraine headaches and auras--anyone else having this problem?

By February 8, 2009 - 12:20pm
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I've been using Zicam a lot lately to try to ward off the various colds and bugs that are flying around, and I've also been having a lot more migraines than usual. In fact, I've been having a lot of migraine auras, where I see the pretty wiggly colorful lights for about 30 minutes or so and I have a lot of trouble seeing. Fortunately, I'm in the very small group of people who get the migraine aura only and then no headache pain, but they are still disconcerting.

Just for some background, I've had migraines for probably the last 25 years or so, and the auras for about the last 10, but they are relatively rare and typically tie into something extra hormonal, like pregnancy, nursing, and menstruation/ovulation times. I can go for years without having a migraine aura so when they do pop up, I really try to figure out what might be causing them. I did see an eye doctor when they first started and he confirmed the diagnosis.

In the last month or so, I've used 2 types of Zicam--the oral mist that you spray in your mouth in four different places every few hours, and the Q-tip like swabs that are covered with a clear gel that you apply inside your nose every few hours. When I match up the days I was using either form of the Zicam and the migraines and/or migraine auras, they all correlate. When I stop using it, the auras stop totally.

Has anyone else ever had this problem? I'm really bummed about not using Zicam anymore because it works so well for me. I wonder why the Zicam causes this to happen in the first place? Thanks so much for any help you can give me.

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EmpowHER Guest

I usually get the occasional aura lightning bolt in the eye for 30 minutes and then a wicked migraine with the migraine "hangover" the next day( bending over makes my head feel like it's pounding).
Aspartame and Starbucks caffeine are what I think causes them. I also got a few while I was pregnant.
I took a zicam rapid melt orange tablet last night and within 5 minutes, I got an aura eye migraine and the horrible pain in my head. I have to take 3 Advil as soon as I get the aura in my eye.
Thank you for your post. I am going to throw zicam in the trash.

September 25, 2015 - 9:00am
EmpowHER Guest

So glad to find this site! I get migraines pretty frequently, but have them pretty well managed with prescription medications. As soon as I feel a migraine coming on, I take a pill and am feeling better within half an hour. However, I've been taking Zicam the last couple of days and it seems like it completely counteracts my medication. Taking Zicam every three hours regularly gives me migraines that last all day. Just terrible! I won't be using it again.

January 12, 2014 - 5:13pm
EmpowHER Guest

I tried taking Zicam Allergy nasal spray to get rid of sinus headache and instead I got both a migraine and sinus headache. I tried it last year around the same time, and the same thing happened. I won't be using this product again.

I will say that Zicam severe congestion really works for nasal stuffiness, but it can only be taken for 3 days or rebound occurs. It is a sleep saver when you get a really bad head cold and can't breath out of your nose at night.

August 7, 2013 - 4:30am
EmpowHER Guest

I visited this site this morning when I googled "Zicam migraine". I had not had a migraine headache of any consequence for many months but, 3 days on Zicam tablets (dissolve in mouth) and I have a fairly intense migraine going. Given others' anecdotes about similar experiences, I guess I will stop taking the Zicam.

February 28, 2013 - 5:55am
EmpowHER Guest

I took Zicam this morning after I woke up coughing and sneezing. I got violently ill with a migraine from using zicam 2hrs later. 2nd time I tried it, first I time I tried it I got a little headache, and chalked it up to the dehydration the medicine caused. Today I have no doubt it was a side effect. I could verily see or walk. Unfortunately I was 1 mile deep in the woods deer hunting. Needless to say it was not a fun hike out or 30 min drive home. I could not hold anything down and unlike most my migraines this had multiple pain centers. 7hrs later my sight and balance are still fuzzy.

October 21, 2012 - 6:47pm
EmpowHER Guest

I recently took zicam tablets onset of my cold. 3 tabs during the day every 3 hrs. I started developing a headache on the side of my left brain. Then my headache became very painful that i fell asleep. I stopped taking the zicam and my heacdache went away. Dont think i will be taking this over the counter zicam again.

August 29, 2012 - 1:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have never used Zicam until yesterday when I felt a cold starting to come on strong. Well my symptoms went away but I have a horrible pressure feeling in the back of my head and a wicked headache!

Zicam would be great if I didn't have the pressure feeling and a headache!

February 22, 2012 - 3:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am a fan of Zicam nasal spray. It temporarily relieves sinus problems for HOURS. I have, however, been trying to fight off a headache and no matter how much headache meds i take, i can't seem to shake it. I am afraid that this might turn into a migraine. I am glad i found this page because now i know that i should probably taking Zicam for a while.

January 9, 2011 - 7:42pm
EmpowHER Guest

Copper toxicity. zinc provokes a detox of any copper overload in the liver and brain. Also explains why the migraines correlate with menstruation etc

December 18, 2010 - 6:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

In response to:

Anonymous March 25, 2010 - 3:51pm Wow, I feel alot better knowing I'm not the only one...I had a sore throat and my sinuses were a bit runny. I hate being sick so decided to try Zicam dissolvable tablets. I made it through 4 of them on day 1. I took them as advised on the bottle and was fine when i went to sleep....When i woke up the next day i could barely get out of bed. I was disoriented, couldn't focus, had a terrible headache, no appetite and a nagging sense of nausea. I fought it and made it to the store to get some Excedrin to see if that would help. The Excedrin killed the headache and the nausia and the only way i can describe it is "my head snapped back into place" and I feel fine now but with the sore throat still.

I will never take Zicam again. It made me feel so sick i thought i was going to have to go to the emergency room. I have a high threshold for pain but this stuff did me in BIG TIME.


This is the exact same thing that happend to me, word for word. I kept thinking the migraines were just because I was sick. So I kept taking it. I stopped taking it the night that I almost took myself to the ER! I made it through the night without the ER but I felt much better after I stopped taking it. Turns out the Zicam made me even more sick than I really was. Never again!

August 9, 2010 - 2:38pm
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