There are many expensive and complicated treatments for people who suffer from migraine headaches, but a new literature review shows that a single dose of 1000mg aspirin is effective for more than half of all patients.
Compared with placebo, aspirin reduced associated symptoms of nausea, vomiting, photophobia (lights) and phonophobia (sounds), and made severe or moderate pain into no pain after two hours in 24% of patients. Fifty-two percent of patients reduced severe pain to no worse than mild pain by 2 hours after taking the aspirin, and headache relief was sustained for 24 hours more often with aspirin than placebo.
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For patients who have migraine-associated nausea, adding metoclopramide aka Reglan (an old-fashioned medicine that can even be used in pregnancy) to aspirin significantly reduced nausea.
This study, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, is good news because it shows that inexpensive over-the-counter medication can help a large group of migraine sufferers. A normal-size aspirin is 325mg, and most folks don't take more than two at a time. For people with migraine headaches, it is worth trying three at a time to see if it will abort the pain.