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Is Ibuprofen Good For Migraine Headaches

Should I Take Ibuprofen For A Headache

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Ibuprofen is good for period pain and migraines. It can also be used for back pain, strains and sprains, as well as pain from arthritis. Paracetamol is typically used for mild or moderate pain. It may be better than ibuprofen for headaches, toothache, sprains, stomach ache, and nerve pain like sciatica.

Each Of The Drugs Has Its Drawbacks

For most run-of-the-mill headaches, its usually best to try acetaminophen first. It doesnt 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. Its 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 doesnt 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.

Treatment For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women

In general, migraine treatment with medicines should be limited as much as possible when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Instead, trying to identify and avoid potential migraine triggers is often recommended.

If medicine is essential, your GP may prescribe you a low-dose painkiller, such as paracetamol.

In some cases, anti-inflammatory medicine or triptans may be prescribed.

Speak to a GP or your midwife before taking medicine when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Page last reviewed: 10 May 2019 Next review due: 10 May 2022

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When Are Opioids Or Butalbital Useful For Migraines

Your doctor may suggest an opioid if none of the treatments listed above help, or if you have bad side effects.

It is not clear if butalbital should be used at all for treating migraines. If your doctor prescribes butalbital for your migraines, ask why. And ask if there are any other drugs that would work.

How To Manage Migraines

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Some migraines can be managed without drugs. Talk to your doctor about how to:

Avoid triggers. These are things that bring on your headaches. Common food triggers are chocolate, cheese, alcohol, foods with MSG, and meats with nitrates . Other common triggers are strong smells, bright light, skipping meals, and smoking.

Reduce stress. Stress can bring on migraines. Try doing activities to help you relax, such as meditation, walking or swimming, yoga, tai chi, or stretching exercises. If you feel anxious or depressed, ask your doctor to help you treat these conditions or refer you to a psychiatrist for treatment.

Get regular sleep and exercise. Too much or too little sleep can lead to migraines. Aim for seven to eight hours a night, with a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Physical activity, such as walking or swimming, can also help prevent obesity, a risk factor for migraines.

Control symptoms. When you get a migraine, lie down in a quiet, dark room if you can. Put a cold cloth or compress over your forehead, massage your scalp, or press on your temples. Drink plenty of water, especially if you have vomited. It is helpful to take medications as early as possible

Keep a headache diary. This can help you figure out what your triggers are and keep track of the medicines you use. Write down:

  • When the pain began.

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What Are The Side Effects

Side effects are rare since painkillers are usually only used for a short time in migraine treatment. In studies, ibuprofen caused stomach ache in less than 1 out of 100 people. Other drugs didn’t have any side effects. But taking painkillers may be a problem for people who already have certain conditions, such as kidney damage.

NSAIDs can also affect the stomach lining, so they aren’t suitable for people who have stomach ulcers. Acetylsalicylic acid can reduce the blood’s ability to clot, increasing the risk of bleeding. Usually the bleeding is slight, for instance a nosebleed or bleeding gums. In rare cases it may be more serious, for example in the gastrointestinal tract. High doses of NSAIDs can also increase the risk of complications in people who have cardiovascular disease.

Acetaminophen is not suitable for people with impaired liver function because it is broken down in the liver. At high doses it can even cause liver damage in people who are otherwise healthy. So it’s important not to exceed the maximum recommended daily dose.

When And How To Use Otc Drugs

They usually arenât as strong or work as quickly as prescription medications. So itâs best to reach for OTC products when your symptoms come on slowly or are mild or moderate. You may need prescription drugs if you have vomiting or severe nausea.

Too much pain medication of any kind may trigger headaches more often or make them stronger and harder to treat. Doctors call these medication-overuse headaches. That could happen quickly for some people, or take months or years for others.

Limit over-the-counter pain relievers to no more than 3 days a week. If that doesnât help, or if you get intense migraines on more than 4 or 5 days a month, ask your doctor about other medications.

Taking pain relievers for a long time may lead to ulcers and stomach bleeding. Talk to your doctor first if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a health condition, or take other medications.

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Botulinum Toxin Injections To Prevent Migraine

In July 2010 the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency licensed the use of botulinum toxin injections for the prevention of migraine. This decision was based on research studies that seemed to show it to be an effective treatment at reducing the number of migraine attacks .

Treatment consists of up to five courses of treatment with botulinum toxin injections every 12 weeks. The injections are given into muscles around the head and neck. It is not clear how this treatment may work for migraine. Botulinum toxin relaxes muscles but it may also have some sort of action to block pain signals. The theory is that these actions may have an effect of stopping a migraine headache from being triggered.

In 2012, guidelines were issued by NICE on this treatment. NICE recommends botulinum toxin type A as a possible treatment for preventing headaches in some adults with persistent migraine. The criteria set down by NICE for people who may be considered for this treatment are:

  • If you have chronic migraine and
  • You have already tried at least three different medicine treatments to prevent your chronic migraine headaches, but these have not worked and
  • You are not taking too many painkillers or using them too often.

Also, treatment should be stopped if:

How to use the Yellow Card Scheme

If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme. You can do this online at

  • The side-effect.

How Do Nsaids Compare With Other Migraine Treatments

Advil | Fight Headache Fast

Triptans are usually the first treatment recommended for moderate to severe migraine attacks in patients. NSAIDs may be recommended for people with mild, non-disabling attacks or for patients who cant take triptans.

NSAIDs are sometimes less expensive than triptans. In the few studies that have compared a particular NSAID with a triptan, the NSAID has performed at least nearly as well.

Co-administration of an NSAID and an oral triptan may be more effective than taking either drug alone. There is also a prescription oral medication available that combines an NSAID and a triptan . Always talk to your doctor about all medications you are taking, even if they are non-prescription, to avoid possible drug interactions or compounding side effects.

Most NSAIDs can lead to medication overuse headache if used more than 10 to 15 days per month.

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Which Medications Are Suitable For Children And Teenagers

Medications sometimes have different effects in children and teenagers than they do in adults. They need other doses, and some of the side effects are also different. The following medications have been approved in Europe for the treatment of migraines in children and teenagers:

  • ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen : for children ages 12 and up, also in combination with metoclopramide
  • sumatriptan: as a nasal spray for children ages 12 and up

It’s not clear whether acetaminophen can relieve migraine symptoms in children and teenagers. Several studies show that ibuprofen can help relieve migraine attacks. There were no serious side effects in the studies involving children with migraines. Mild side effects like stomach ache were rare.

The sumatriptan nasal spray also helped relieve migraine attacks in children and teenagers. Mild side effects were more common though, such as an unpleasant taste or nausea.

Children and teenagers can also be prescribed medication that hasn’t been approved for their age group. This is known as “off-label use.” If your doctor prescribes a medication off-label, then he or she needs to explain why and tell you about the associated risks.

Can Ibuprofen Help With Migraine

Many people who have migraines find that over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen, can help to reduce their symptoms. They tend to be most effective if taken at the first signs of a migraine attack, as this gives them time to absorb into your bloodstream and ease your symptoms.

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What Is A Patient Information Leaflet And Why Is It Useful

The Patient Information Leaflet is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from this version because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged.

Below is a text only representation of the Patient Information Leaflet.The original leaflet can be viewed using the link above.

The text only version may be available in large print, Braille or audio CD.For further information call emc accessibility on 0800 198 5000.The product code for this leaflet is: PL12063/0071 .

Boots Migraine Pain Relief 342mg Tablets

Patient Information Leaflet

Boots Migraine Pain Relief 342 mg Tablets

Ibuprofen Lysine

Read this leaflet carefully because it contains important information for you.

  • Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
  • Ask your pharmacist if you need more information or advice.
  • You must contact a doctor or pharmacist if your symptoms worsen or do not improve.

In this leaflet:

1. What this medicine is for2. Before you take the medicine3. How to take the medicine4. Possible side effects6. Further information


This medicine contains ibuprofen lysine which is the lysine salt of ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is one of a group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which work to reduce pain, fever and swelling.

This medicine is used to relieve:


Skin reactions


Rare Headache Disorders & Facial Pain

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These disorders include trigeminal neuralgia and persistent idiopathic facial pain . Trigeminal neuralgia involves recurrent electric-shock-like pains in one side of the face, and can be triggered by seemingly innocuous stimuli . PIFP causes dull, aching, poorly localised facial pain, which occurs for over two hours per day .

While they have different symptoms, both of these rare disorders have a huge impact on patients, and can be physically, psychologically and socially debilitating. General painkillers are not effective for these disorders. If you are experiencing these symptoms, ask your GP for a referral to a specialist treatment is complex, and a specialist will be able to screen for possible other causes of the pain.

Trigeminal neuralgia and PIFP both have preventive medications available. These need to be taken at a low dose to begin with, and gradually increased due to possible side effects. Many people find these preventives helpful, and if the pain stops altogether patients can possibly taper down the dosage and eventually cease medication .

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How Celecoxib Works

NSAID medications work by targeting COX enzymes in the body. There are two types of COX enzymes: COX-1 enzymes help maintain the lining of the stomach and intestines, and COX-2 enzymes are responsible for inflammation.

Most NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and naproxen , target both types of COX enzymes. These medicines can reduce pain and inflammation by targeting COX-2. But because they also target COX-1, they can cause injury to the stomach and intestinal lining. This could lead to gastrointestinal bleeding or even ulcers.

COX-2 inhibitorslike Celebrex and Elyxybtreat inflammation by specifically blocking just the COX-2 enzyme. This makes COX-2 inhibitors more gentle on the stomach and GI tract than other NSAIDs.

Celebrex is less likely to cause stomach upset and gastrointestinal bleeding than most other NSAIDs, which can make it a preferred option if you are at risk of these problems.

What Is Medication

Medication-induced headache is caused by taking painkillers or triptans too often for headaches of any kind. It is a common cause of headaches that occur daily, or on most days. About 1 in 50 people develop this problem at some time in their lives. For example:

  • You may have a bad spell of tension headaches or migraine attacks, perhaps during a time of stress. You take painkillers or a triptan more often than usual, and for a while. Your body becomes used to the medication. A withdrawal headache then develops if you do not take a painkiller or triptan within a day or so of the last dose. You think this is another tension headache or migraine attack, and so you take a further dose of painkiller or triptan. When the effect of each dose wears off, a further withdrawal headache develops, and so on. In time, you may have headaches on most days, or on every day, and you end up taking painkillers or a triptan every day, or on most days.

If you find that you are getting headaches on most days then this may be a cause. See a doctor for advice. Some people who may think they are getting frequent migraine attacks or are developing chronic migraine, are in fact getting medication-induced headache.

See the separate leaflet called Medication-overuse Headache .

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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?

When To Worry About A Headache

5 NATURAL ways to get rid of HEADACHES| You do NOT have an ibuprofen deficiency

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.

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Who Is A Good Candidate For Nsaids For Migraine Treatment

Some people find NSAIDs to be consistently effective, even for migraine of moderate to severe intensity. However, these drugs typically are more useful when taken early in the migraine attack.

Be sure to discuss with your doctor whether you are a candidate for using NSAIDs to treat your acute migraine. Its a good idea to talk about any medications, supplements, vitamins and non-medication treatments youre using. That way, your doctor has a full picture of your migraine management.

Of course, those with contraindications should avoid using NSAIDs. Otherwise, if used moderately and taken at an appropriate time, these medications can be a valuable part of a migraine treatment plan. This is especially true when used in combination with lifestyle changes to help reduce or prevent migraine symptoms.

TheAmerican Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMFResource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out ourFind a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.

Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundations subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. to read about our editorial board members.

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