Headache Medication Besides Advil And Tylenol

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses alternatives to Advil and Tylenol to treat headaches.

Headache Medication Besides Advil And Tylenol
May 07, 2018

yooo asked

hello what can i take for headaches i tried tylenol and advil but not helping much - no other problems just bad headaches


HeadacheIf Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) don't help much for your headaches, it is important to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis as to the reason you are experiencing them. There are several types of headaches (e.g. tension headaches, migraine headaches), many of which have different recommended treatments.

In terms of over the counter alternatives to Advil and Tylenol for headache, you may want to try Excedrin, which contains additional ingredients that may help your headache more than Tylenol or Advil. Excedrin contains:

  • Acetaminophen (analgesic)
  • Caffeine (vasoconstrictor)
  • Aspirin (anti-inflammatory analgesic)

Certain studies show combination analgesic products, such as Excedrin, may have additive, or synergistic effects for the treatment of headaches.

If over the counter analgesics do not work for your headaches, you may need to try prescription options such as "triptan" medications (e.g. Imitex) that work via different mechanims than over the counter analgesics.

In addition, if you continue to use over the counter analgesics without effect, you need to be aware of the risk of "rebound headaches" due to medication overuse. Studies show that use of over the counter analgesics for as little as 10 days or more per month could put you at risk. Rebound headache can manifest as reduced efficacy of your medication when headaches occur,  the need for higher doses to achieve relief or simply an increased frequency of headaches. Be sure to speak with your doctor regarding your options.

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