Medications used for symptom relief may vary depending on the type of headache; check out
Simple or combined analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most commonly used drugs for treat mild to moderate headache, but the medical indication may vary according to the type of headache.
It is important to remember that headache is, above all, a symptom that can be present in several clinical conditions. In these cases, as part of an illness or condition, treatment will be directed at controlling the secondary problem — such as the flu, sinusitis, or even eye disease.
However, in most cases, headache is not attributed to any alteration of the organism and manifests itself as a single symptom, that is, unrelated to other diseases. The most common, called tension headache, is caused by involuntary, chronic contraction of the muscles at the back of the neck, which can be caused by stress, tiredness, lack of sleep, and anxiety.
Learn more: 8 unusual causes of headache
In cases of migraine, pain can be controlled with common painkillers. If not, the doctor may prescribe the use of triptanswhich are widely used in the treatment of the disease and have a low incidence of side effects.
To better understand the difference between drug indications for relieve headache, see the most popular options:
1. Paracetamol (tylenol)
Indicated especially for the temporary relief of mild to moderate pain, paracetamol is an adult analgesic that works by blocking the COX-2 enzyme, which promotes the organic processes that cause headaches. Its effect begins 15 to 30 minutes after administration and lasts for four to six hours.
The drug can be found in generic form and purchased in the form of tablets, syrup or solution in drops. In addition, acetaminophen is found in association with other medications, such as caffeine.
Despite being a remedy easily found in pharmacies and drugstores, without the need to present a prescription, it is important to be aware of the contraindications and not use it in larger doses than recommended. See the leaflet for paracetamol.
Like paracetamol, dipyrone is an analgesic and antipyretic for adults that acts in the temporary relief of headache, being administered orally, in pill or drops.
Its effects can be expected within 30 to 60 minutes after administration and usually persist for approximately four hours. The drug may have other trade names, such as novalgine, anador and magnopyrol.
Dipyrone belongs to the group of over-the-counter drugs (MIPs), but should be used with reservations. Check the medication leaflet.
Recommended to treat inflammation not so intense, ibuprofen is a drug for adult use that makes up the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which act in the body by inhibiting the production of inflammatory substances, such as prostaglandin, contributing to the relief of headache picture.
Its effects can be observed 15 to 30 minutes after administration. Headache relief lasts between four and six hours, depending on how severe it is.
It is also part of the over-the-counter medicines, so it is possible to buy it in pharmacies or drugstores without a prescription. Ibuprofen can be found in drops, capsules, and tablets. The drop version, as it is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, takes less time to take effect. Check the ibuprofen package insert.
4. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid)
Aspirin® is an oral medication made with acetylsalicylic acid, a substance that belongs to the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory substances and, like ibuprofen, inhibits the formation of pain messenger substances, providing headache relief.
The tablets have a quick effect: after about 17 minutes you begin to feel relief from mild to moderate pain. This relieving effect of aspirin lasts for up to six hours.
A registered trademark of the Bayer laboratory, the drug is sold in packs of four to ten tablets and can be purchased without a prescription. Read the aspirin leaflet.
5. Dorflex (Orphenadrine Citrate)
Orphenadrine citrate, commercially called Dorflex®, is an oral medication indicated for the relief of pain associated with muscle contractures, including tension headache.
It combines dipyrone, orphenadrine and caffeine in the composition, being, in addition to an analgesic, a muscle relaxant. Its effects begin to be felt about 30 minutes after administration. A prescription is not required to purchase it. Check the Dorflex package insert.
Indicated in cases of secondary headache, caused by flu or allergy, naldecon is an oral medication whose basic component is paracetamol. Its action starts 30 minutes after ingestion.
Two types are sold, one of them being Naldecon Dia and Naldecon Night. You do not need a medical prescription to buy this medication, which can be found in pharmacies and drugstores.
Sumax® is a drug for adult use whose active ingredient is sumatriptan succinate, a triptan normally prescribed by the doctor for the relief of migraine attacks. It is not used to prevent the onset of migraines, however.
Triptans work in the body by causing blood vessels to narrow, helping to reduce headaches and relieving other migraine symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. The time for the onset of action of sumax is about 30 minutes.
This type of medication should only be administered with medical indication and presentation of a prescription. See the somax leaflet.
Recommended for the treatment of migraine attacks, cephaliv is a drug for adult use made with the substance dihydroergotamine, which acts on the central nervous system promoting headache relief. In addition, it is associated with dipyrone monohydrate and caffeine, which increases the effectiveness of analgesics.
Its effect starts about 30 minutes after administration and can last up to twelve hours, depending on the intensity of the pain. Although it is available in pharmacies, cefaliv can only be purchased with a prescription. Check the cephaliv leaflet.
Pregnancy headache remedy
During pregnancy, the recommendation is to avoid taking any type of medication, even those aimed at relieving simple problems such as headache. However, Simple analgesics may be indicated for cases of moderate to severe pain, according to Caio Grava Simioni, a neurologist at Fleury Medicina e Saúde.
Despite the low risk of fetal malformations, Caio recalls a recent study, published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, which associated the consumption of paracetamol by pregnant women and problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), language acquisition problems and genital malformations in children exposed to the medication.
“The recommendation is that the drug is used only for the treatment of more intense pain and for the shortest possible time during this period, since there are not many alternatives for this purpose during pregnancy”, points out the specialist.
Finally, Caio adds that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided in the third trimester of pregnancy due to the risk of fetal heart disease. In case of doubt, always consult a specialist doctor.
Also Read: 6 Ways to Relieve Headaches Without Medication
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