Migraines: Over the Counter

My journey dealing with migraines using over the counter meds has not been a pleasant one.

It started when I first started getting my migraines as a little kid.  I was too young to take a lot of medications.  We tried children’s tylenol, which did squat.

As I grew, I tried regular tylenol:  again squat.

Then one glorious day, our doctor told us about this new over the counter drug called Excedrin Migraine.  Amazingly enough, it worked.  It worked really well.  I knew by this point when a migraine was coming on and if I took two right away and took a short nap, I would be ok.  It was my go to treatment of choice for about 8 years.  I had bottles hidden all over the house, in my car, and in my various bags.  It was my safety net.

Then, it turned on me.  I used it when I got a migraine and it helped, but I was actually getting a lot of other headaches, some migraines, and without any of my triggers present.  I went to my doctor who informed me that Excedrin Migraine might actually be causing my headaches, rebound headaches.  He advised that I stop taking it for my migraines immediately.  He also warned me of the damage I could be doing to my kidneys and stomach by taking the over the counter med so frequently.  Yikes.  I haven’t used it since.

When I can’t access my prescriptions (which I’ll cover in the next migraine post), I follow my doctors advice and take one Aleve with about 8 oz. of Coca-Cola.   If it doesn’t help, take another Aleve. The great thing about this, is I can get it anywhere I am and for cheap.

So while this is working on the pain management side, I still wonder about the impacts these over the counter drugs are having on my health… in particular, the health of my kidneys.  I’m still researching and gathering reliable information on that and will get to you soon, but in the mean time, any knowledge out there?  Have you found any over-the-counter pharmaceutical remedies that work for your headaches?


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