Don’t dismiss aspirin for those migraines

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Aspirin may seem too old-fashioned to be effective against headaches as severe as migraines, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

In a review of previous studies, researchers at the Cochrane Library found that 1,000 milligrams of good old-fashioned salicylic acid works fairly well at easing migraine pain.

For 1 in 4 people, it takes away the pain completely in two hours. For 1 in 2 people, it reduces the pain to mild or better. In fact, the medicine cabinet staple works about as well as the prescription drug sumatriptan at controlling the headaches.

An anti-nausea drug, specifically metoclopramide, can ease that roiling feeling that often accompanies migraines, the researchers add.


Here’s the review summary.

And here’s information on sumatriptan (brand name Imitrex), metoclopramide (Reglan) and aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin among others), all from RxList.

Plus, a good overview of migraines from MedicineNet and a summary of migraine treatment from the American Headache Society.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo illustration credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times