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Don't dismiss aspirin for those migraines

April 14, 2010 | 11:49 am

Migraine 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

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Comments (6)

A combination of aspirin and feverfew (an herb) works for me. My migraines are vascular; the feverfew relaxes the constricted blood vessels, and the aspirin thins the blood, returning blood flow to the brain.

After the migraine, I take 400 mg of SAM-e (found at any health food store, Trader Joe's or at The SAM-e leaves me completely refreshed, as opposed to the totally wrung-out feeling a migraine usually leaves behind.

Lowering stress in general also helps prevent migraines.

Thanks for the suggestion, K.E. I'll have to try it. I spent all day yesterday (Wednesday) with a screaming migraine. Exedrin Migraine didn't even put a dent in it.

Don't forget that migraines are now covered by the amended (in 2008, effective in 2009) Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Excedrin for migraines helped me alot, but the Xanax also helped and getting another landlord really helped.

I found that Alka Seltzer was an effective way to get rid of my migraines fast . It took away my migraine within 5-10 minutes after consumption. Later I found out the cause of my migraines, which was my artificial lights exceeding 300 watts. Ouch.

Had a job that was contributing to my migraines. Went to HR and asked for a position that would reduce that contribution and got blown off over it. Ultimately left that job (quit because the constant pain and resulting nausea was so bad) and was thus declined unemployment compensation.

Previous employer before that told me that I needed to go to the doctor to get my migraines "fixed".

There is loads of incorrect information out there about migraines and what can and cannot be done to deal with them.

My little dog seems to know when a migraine is coming on and will let me know in advance, before the pain starts and before I notice the aura. If I can get meds into me BEFORE the headache starts, then I can mitigate it with reasonable success. If not, then I'm screwed. While she's a great early warning system, it's more than a little difficult finding a job where they'll let you bring your small dog with you.

Employers seem to think that all service dogs are Labradors and German Shepherds and that they only have to make adjustments for blind people or people in wheelchairs. Not all disabilities are "in your face" visible.

Aspirin is great for headaches. But for those who are skeptical of who want to try something new there is dark chocolate. It mimics aspirin in its uses. Here’s an article on this topic that you might enjoy.


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