Does Adding Caffeine Help Pain Relievers Work
Maybe. Caffeine is an ingredient in many over-the-counter headache drugs. Caffeine seems to have its own pain relieving effects.4 It also seems to increase the pain-relieving effects of other drugs by about 40%.5
On the other hand, caffeine also contributes to headache.4 If consumed regularly, the brain starts to tolerate caffeine. Withdrawal leads to symptoms such as headache, nausea, drowsiness, and more.
A Word On Decongestants And Sinus Headache
People with headaches frequently use OTC medicines containing decongestants, which are often sold to treat colds or sinus issues. Heavy advertising encourages the belief that a sinus headache is a common problem. Thus people with migraine may believe that their headaches result from sinus problems. Research shows, however, that about 90% of these people have migraine, not sinus problems. While decongestant medication offers some relief for these people, the American Migraine Foundation recommends patients use migraine-specific medications where possible.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Ibuprofen
Ibuprofen does have some side effects. For most people these are mild and are not bothersome.
However, some people may experience more serious reactions. See the ibuprofen risk section below for more information on the significant risks of ibuprofen.
Before taking ibuprofen talk with your doctor about:
- your migraine symptoms
- drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks daily
- take ibuprofen longer than recommended
Dont take ibuprofen if youve ever had an allergic reaction to this type of medication .
Taking ibuprofen too often for migraine may lead to overuse rebound headaches. According to Harvard Health Publishing, taking ibuprofen or other OTC pain medication for more than 15 days per month for migraine can increase your risk for rebound headache.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Migraine During Pregnancy
What Are The Side Effects Of Nsaids
NSAIDs can cause problems with your stomach and gut.6 These problems include constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, or pain. More serious complications include bleeding or stomach ulcer, or kidney problems. Signs of these complications include changes in stool or urine and weight gain, among others.
People with certain health conditions should not take NSAIDs. For example, people with certain heart problems should not take non-aspirin NSAIDs.
Even though these drugs are available without a prescription, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about taking them. If you are taking several medications, it is important to know which of them are NSAIDs.
These are not all the possible side effects of NSAIDs. Patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect with treatment with NSAIDs.
How Much Acetaminophen Can I Take
The usual dosage of acetaminophen for adults is two 500mg tablets every 6 hours with a maximum daily dose of 4000mg in 24 hours . But many experts believe most people should not exceed more than 3000mg a day. Children and adults weighing less than 50kg will need a lower dosage.
It can be confusing because different OTC medications can contain different dosages of acetaminophen, such as 325 mg, 500 mg, or 650 mg. To add to the confusion, acetaminophen may be listed as APAP on the label.
Examples of medicines that also contain acetaminophen include DayQuil, Dimetapp, Excedrin, Midol, NyQuil, and Sudafed. Always read the product label for hidden acetaminophen because you should not take more acetaminophen than recommended.
Don’t Miss: Is Caffeine Good For Migraines
How Does Advil Work
Advil is whats called an NSAID, or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. This type of drug, which also includes aspirin and Aleve , prevents certain enzymes in your body from producing chemicals called prostaglandins. These are hormones that trigger inflammation. They also help produce the pain you feel when you have an injury. NSAIDs like Advil offer relief by interrupting this process.
When To Worry About A Headache
Most headaches respond to self-care, OTC pain relievers, or medication your doctor prescribes. For some headaches, though, its best to promptly seek medical advice. Warning signs include a headache that:
- is unusually severe or steadily worsens
- follows a blow to the head
- is accompanied by fever, stiff neck, confusion, decreased alertness or memory, or neurological symptoms such as visual disturbances, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or seizures.
Don’t Miss: Wake Up Every Morning With Headache
Is Aspirin An Nsaid
Yes. Aspirin is an NSAID. It works differently than the other NSAIDS.
All the NSAIDs relieve pain and reduce inflammation. They do this by blocking the COX enzyme. This stops the production of chemicals called prostaglandins. The difference between aspirin and non-aspirin NSAIDs is how they block COX. Aspirin binds permanently to COX. The non-aspirin NSAIDs binds temporarily to COX. This difference is the reason aspirin provides lasting protection against platelet clumping. The anti-platelet effects of non-aspirin NSAIDs are much shorter.
Some Drugs Should Rarely Be Used
Migraine attacks can last for hoursor even days. They can cause intense pain, nausea, and vomiting. They can make you sensitive to light or noise, and they can affect your life and work.
To treat migraines, you may get a prescription for an opioid or a barbiturate called butalbital. These are pain medicines. But you should think twice about using these drugs. Heres why:
Also Check: Headache And Nausea After Eating
Can You Overdose On Ibuprofen
Yes, you can overdose on ibuprofen. Taking too much ibuprofen can cause dangerous side effects and, in some cases, may be life threatening.
Always take the exact dose of ibuprofen your doctor or pharmacist recommends. Do not take more than 1200 milligrams of ibuprofen in 24 hours unless your doctor recommends otherwise.
Some symptoms of an overdose include:
- blurred vision
Ibuprofen can interact with other medications you take. Be sure to let your doctor and pharmacist know about all your medications including OTC products.
Some interactions include:
- Alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol with ibuprofen may increase stomach-related side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if alcohol is safe with ibuprofen.
- Aspirin. Taking aspirin with ibuprofen can increase the risk of serious side effects including stomach-related side effects.
- NSAIDs. Taking more than one NSAID at a time can increase the risk of side effects.
- Diuretics. Also sometimes called water pills, diuretics can increase the risk of kidney conditions.
- Lithium. Taking lithium with ibuprofen can cause lithium to build up in your body and increase the risk of side effects.
- Methotrexate. Taking methotrexate with ibuprofen can cause methotrexate levels to build up and increase serious side effects.
- Blood thinners. Taking blood thinners like with ibuprofen may increase your bleeding risk.
This is not a full list of interactions. Talk with your doctor about the safety of using ibuprofen with these drugs.
What To Do Before Taking Benadryl For Migraine
Benadryl is an over-the-counter medication. However, it doesnt mean you should take it without consulting your doctor first. When you are having a migraine attack, your judgment may be clouded, and you could miss some of the serious side effects.
Before taking Benadryl for migraine, you need to do the following.
Don’t Miss: Does Low Barometric Pressure Cause Headaches
Best For Migraines: Advil Or Tylenol
Which headache medicine works best for relieving migraines- Advil or Tylenol ? Here are some pros and cons to taking OTC pain relievers for migraines, such as Advil, Tylenol, and Excedrin.
In the case of migraines, there are advantages to using ibuprofen-based headache relievers such as Advil or Motrin IB, where for other migraine patients acetaminophen brands such as Tylenol or Paracetamol provide superior pain relief results.
A Guide To Treating Migraines
Read about traditional and non-traditional treatments for migraines
No two migraine attacks are the same. Often, a mix of traditional and non-traditional treatments is the best way to cope with and prevent an attack. But that can also mean some trial and error before the relief.
After you have experienced a few migraines, take some time to evaluate your approach. If you are not getting the relief you need, keep working with your doctor and other health care practitioners to find the best course of treatment for you. Dont forget to keep track of any treatments or therapies you try in your migraine diary.
Also Check: Headache With High Blood Pressure
Drugs For Migraine Prevention
If you have 4 or more migraine days each month, you may take these drugs regularly to keep migraine attacks from happening. They lessen the number of headaches you have and how severe they are.
You have to follow your doctorâs directions for them to work. Your doctor may need to change the medications and adjust how much you take to figure out what works best for you.
While youâre taking these drugs, write down how often you have headaches and how bad they are to help your doctor judge how well they are working. Most need days or weeks to take full effect.
Once your headaches are under control for 6 months or a year, you might be able to taper off or stop these drugs. Your doctor will advise you.
The medications listed include both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. They aren’t habit-forming, but any medication can have side effects. Your doctor will adjust the dosage to give you the most relief with the fewest side effects.
Which Pain Reliever Works The Best
Study results can be a starting point to figure out what works best for you. But remember, what worked in a group of study participants may or may not be the best option for you.
In trials, NSAIDs generally work better than acetaminophen.2 Without head-to-head trials comparing the NSAIDs, it is difficult to say which one might work best.2 You could decide which to take based on cost, side effects, and availability.
The combination of acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine has been proven to treat migraine. One trial compared acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine with ibuprofen to treat severe migraine pain.3 Both treatments worked better than placebo . Acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine relieved pain better than ibuprofen as early as 45 minutes after taking it. The benefits continued through 4 hours after treatment.
Don’t Miss: Migraine Pain In Ear And Jaw
Each Of The Drugs Has Its Drawbacks
For most run-of-the-mill headaches, it’s usually best to try acetaminophen first. It doesn’t pose the risk of stomach bleeding and heart attack associated with the regular use of most nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , a class of painkillers that includes ibuprofen .
But acetaminophen comes with its own caveats. It’s not as effective at relieving pain as NSAIDs, and high doses can damage the liver. People who are heavy drinkers or have cirrhosis of the liver or hepatitis should use acetaminophen with caution. Do not take more than the maximum daily amount of 4,000 mg per daythe equivalent of eight extra-strength 500 mg capsules daily, and be sure to follow the product label instructions carefully.
If acetaminophen doesn’t relieve your pain, consider ibuprofen or naproxen . Both are Consumer Reports Best Buys. Naproxen may be a better choice if you have higher risk of heart attacks or strokes, since studies suggest it does not increase the risk of these conditions.
If you are at increased risk of bleeding due to older age, because you take aspirin or other blood thinners, or have a history of prior bleeding or ulcers, talk to your doctor before taking any of these painkillers.
Finally, strange as it may sound, overuse of these medications can actually cause headaches. That problem is known as “rebound headaches.” So use these treatments only when needed, and see your doctor if you experience daily or almost daily headaches.
Be Aware Of The Side Effects Of Acetaminophen And Ibuprofen
Acetaminophen may cause liver disease when taken in high doses, meaning youre going to do some serious damage to your liver if you take this medication more than prescribed. If you suffer from cardiovascular disease, ibuprofen may worsen your blood pressure furthermore, its been linked to peptic ulcer disease and bleeding, and kidney failure in some individuals .
Noticeable side effects indicating an adverse reaction to acetaminophen include cloudy or bloody urine, fever with or without chills, pain in your lower back, skin rash, hives, mouth sores, or unusual bleeding, per the Mayo Clinic. If you notice any of these conditions immediately after taking acetaminophen, call your doctor right away.
Ultimately, choosing between acetaminophen and ibuprofen is a personal choice, but either way, its important to only take the recommended dosage for your headache to ensure that youre treating the discomfort without causing additional internal problems.
You May Like: Migraine With Aura Stroke Risk
Treating And Preventing Migraines
The aims of treatment are to prevent them, if possible, and ease the symptoms when they do occur.
Once you’ve got a migraine, the only thing you want is for the pain to stop. Start treatment as soon as you feel the migraine pain whether its over-the-counter medication like Advil Liqui-Gels, for mild to moderate pain, or something your doctor prescribes.
You may be able to reduce your chances of suffering from a migraine attack by knowing your potential migraine triggers. A good place to begin is by keeping a headache diary Recording lifestyle factors such as what you eat, how much sleep you get, exercise routines, and stress levels along with when your headaches start and the type of pain you experience can help you monitor these patterns. That way you will be able to make lifestyle changes to reduce the number of migraines you get.
What Is Better For A Migraine Tylenol Or Advil
Advil or Aleve , andaspirin may be better at helping calm down the inflammation whichpart of the migraine reaction than Tylenol
That said, some people do find relieve from preparations likeExcedrin , which have acetaminophen , aspirin, andcaffeine in it. Caffeine helps by making the other medications workfaster, as well as acting as a vasoconstrictor . Aspirin, like ibuprofen and naproxen,acts on prostaglandins to reduce pain and inflammation.Acetaminophen itself really only reduces pain, it does not act oninflammation.
If you are under 18 or pregnant/nursing, it may not be safe totake aspirin. If you an adult on anti-coagulant therapy , please speak to your doctor first.
Recommended Reading: What Can Pregnant Women Take For Migraines
Looking For A Pain Management Center In Jacksonville
Riverside Pain Physicians is a pain management clinic that specializes in even the most difficult pain management scenarios. We have several locations in Jacksonville to help you manage your pain close to home. Our center for pain management is staffed with experts who have years of experience in the field. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you with your chronic headaches. You can also
Whats Best For Migraines
For prevention of side effects and drug interactions, Tylenol seems to be the safest bet for migraine patients. Tylenol with added caffeine and aspirin is more effective, but should only be used under your doctors recommendation, as they may cause side effects affecting your liver and heart. For maximum migraine headache relief, Advil is top-notch, but increases your risk for rebound headache, stomach ulcers, and heart disease.
Don’t Miss: Headache That Won’t Go Away For Days
What Is Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen is another pain-relief medicine that can be brought over the counter. Brand names for acetaminophen include Tylenol. In some countries, acetaminophen is called paracetamol.
Acetaminophen has a unique way of working, although it is still thought to work by inhibiting certain COX enzymes.
What Are The Risks
Opioids and butalbital can cause serious withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly. People who use high doses for a long time may need to be in the hospital in order to stop using them.
Opioids, even at low doses, can make you feel sleepy or dizzy. Other side effects include constipation and nausea. Using them for a long time can lower your sex drive and cause depression and sleep problems.
Which drugs are good for migraines?
If you have migraine attacks, try one of the drugs listed below. They all work best if you use them when the migraine is just beginning.
- Start with a non-prescription pain drug like acetylsalicylic acid , ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If these are not helpful, you can try other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , some of which need a prescription, like diclofenac potassium and naproxen sodium.
- If these drugs do not help, or your headaches are more severe, try one of the prescription migraine drugs called triptans, such as sumatriptan .
- If a triptan is helpful but not as effective as you would like, you may combine a triptan with an NSAID .If the above options are not helpful, you can try dihydroergotamine nasal spray . This drug works even better as an injection . You can do the injections yourself once you are trained.
- If you have a lot of nausea with your attacks, all of the above medications can be combined with an anti-nausea medication, like metoclopramide.
When are opioids or butalbital useful for migraines?
Read Also: Can Migraines Cause Ear Pain