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'Where Is My Excedrin?'

Headache Sufferers Hang On, With Some Paying Sky-High Prices Online and Others Concocting Their Own Remedies

Explaining the Excedrin Loyalty continued...

What a doctor advises a headache patient to take matters, too, Rosenberg says.

If a doctor recommends a specific medicine, the patient's expectations of that drug may be high, he says.

It's not uncommon for patients to say one drug works better than another, even if the formulas are the same, Vaida says. "Someone gets used to a certain medicine," he says. "There is a psychological component to it."

"Patients do become quite attached to specific brands of medicine," Charles says. ''That's true not just of headache but for other sorts of conditions."

Recall Lessons

Although an over-the-counter medication may be viewed as benign by people, Charles says anyone who has a headache every day should see a doctor to rule out other causes. Overusing headache medicine is common, he says. It can make headaches more frequent.

People who overuse medicine for headaches and then go off it for a time often return to a pattern of occasional headaches rather than daily, he says.

In a 2009 National Health Interview Survey, more than 21% of women polled and 10% of men said they had a migraine or other severe headache in the past three months.

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