Tension Headaches - Medications
Your doctor may
recommend medicine to treat or prevent
only need to take an
over-the-counter medicine for pain. These medicines
usually have fewer side effects than prescription drugs. Always be safe with medicines. Read
and follow all instructions on the label.
Over-the-counter drugs to stop
Over-the-counter medicines that you
can use to stop a headache include:
- Acetaminophen (such as
- Aspirin (such as Bayer).
(such as Advil).
- Naproxen (such as
- Medicine that combines aspirin,
acetaminophen, and caffeine (such as Excedrin).
Try to avoid taking over-the-counter drugs more
than 3 times a week, because you may get
rebound headaches. These are different from tension
headaches. They usually occur after headache medicine has worn off. This leads you to take another dose. After a while, you get a headache whenever you stop
taking the medicine.
Prescription drugs to stop
In some cases your doctor may
prescribe a medicine such as a
narcotic to stop a headache if nonprescription
medicines don't work. But these drugs can be habit-forming and
should be used rarely and only for a short time.
Prescription drugs to prevent
Your doctor may recommend that you
take a prescription medicine every day to prevent headaches. You may want to take this medicine
- Over-the-counter medicines don't work to stop your
- You're taking drugs to stop headaches more than 3 times
- You get a headache more than 15 days a month.
Medicines used to prevent tension headaches
- Headaches: Should I Take Prescription Medicine for Tension Headaches?
Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) is sometimes injected into
the muscles in the face and head to treat headaches.
In the past, doctors thought that spasms caused tension
headaches. But BTX-A injections do not seem to help with symptoms of tension
headaches.1, 2 And BTX-A may
cause weakness of the facial muscles and may make it hard for you to