Bachmann releases doctor's note; answers claim of 'heavy pill use' 

Facing increasing questions over reports she suffers from "incapacitating" migraine headaches, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann has released a letter from Congress' resident physician describing her condition.  The letter, signed by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, reveals for the first time the medical treatments Bachmann has had for her headaches.

Bachmann's treatment is a key part of the story.  In breaking the news this week, the Daily Caller website ran the headline "Stress-related condition 'incapacitates' Bachmann; heavy pill use alleged."  The website quoted a Bachmann adviser saying, "The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes."

Dr. Monahan's assessment is different.  The doctor says Bachmann has had "an extensive evaluation by both my office and by a board-certified consulting neurologist."  That evaluation, he continues, "has entailed detailed labwork and brain scans, all of which were normal."  Monahan says Bachmann's migraines occur "infrequently," and that when she does have a headache, she is "able to control it well with as-needed sumatriptan and odasentron."  Monahan says Bachmann has not needed to take the medication daily.  The two drugs, he adds, are "commonly used therapies."

Does that qualify as "heavy pill use"?  Perhaps Bachmann has other prescriptions from other doctors, but if Monahan's description of her condition and therapy is accurate and complete, accusations of "heavy pill use" seem off the mark.

About The Author

Byron York


Byron York is the Examiner’s chief political correspondent. His column appears Tuesdays and Fridays. He blogs throughout the week at Beltway Confidential.

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