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Rebound Headaches

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What Is the Treatment for Rebound Headaches?

Usually, discontinuing the medication or gradually reducing the medication dose will lead to more easily controlled headaches. You will probably be asked to record your headache symptoms, noting the frequency and duration of headaches.

Some people may need to be "detoxified" under more carefully monitored medical conditions. People taking large doses of sedative hypnotics, sedative-containing combination headache pills, or narcotics such as codeine or oxycodone may need to be admitted to the hospital so they can be detoxified and recover under supervision.

Unfortunately, for many chronic daily headache sufferers, detoxification for the first several weeks leads to increasing headaches. Supervision and treatment by a headache specialist are therefore very important.

Eventually, the headaches disappear and resume their previous intermittent nature.

Can Rebound Headaches Be Prevented?

Yes. You can prevent rebound headaches by using pain relievers on a limited basis, only when necessary. Do not use them more than once or twice a week, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

Also, avoid caffeine-containing products while taking pain relievers, especially medication that already contains caffeine.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 19, 2012
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