Which headache medicine works best for relieving migraines- Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen)? Here are some pros and cons to taking OTC pain relievers for migraines, such as Advil, Tylenol, and Excedrin.
Deciding which kind of medicine to take for chronic pain depends on many different factors, such as where the pain is located and what’s causing it. Also, possible drug interactions and underlying health conditions need to be considered.
In the case of migraines, there are advantages to using ibuprofen-based headache relievers such as Advil or Motrin IB, where for other migraine patients; acetaminophen brands such as Tylenol or Paracetamol provide superior pain relief results.
Advil for migraines
Ibuprofen falls under the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and Advil is one of the most popular choices for relieving headaches, including migraines.
In one of many scientific trials, Advil scored far better for treating migraine headaches than a placebo, either eliminating or substantially decreasing pain within two hours, in addition to alleviating symptoms of nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Side effects and risks for long-term Advil usage may include:
- Stomach pain (negligible, when compared to stomach cramps caused by migraines)
- Stomach ulcers
- Rebound headache
- Tinnitus (ear ringing)
- Increased risk for heart attack or stroke
- Blood clotting- don’t take with blood thinners
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Tylenol for migraines
Tylenol contains acetaminophen, an analgesic pain reliever that can be effective for treating migraine headaches and muscle soreness, but without causing stomach problems or heart disease complications. Tylenol reduces pain symptoms and fever, but has no effect on inflammation.
Acetaminophen is also available in Excedrin for migraines, which also has caffeine and aspirin. For some, the addition of caffeine and aspirin may pose serious health risks, especially if you suffer take medications for heart disease, so confide in your doctor before undertaking a new migraine regimen that involves these ingredients.
Side effects and health risks associated with Tylenol may include:
- Harmful interaction with alcohol
- Liver damage with overdose
- Overdose through common drug interactions
- Allergic reactions
- Interference with warfarin (Coumadin) blood thinners
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What’s best for migraines?
For prevention of side effects and drug interactions, Tylenol seems to be the safest bet for migraine patients. Tylenol with added caffeine and aspirin is more effective, but should only be used under your doctor’s recommendation, as they may cause side effects affecting your liver and heart. For maximum migraine headache relief, Advil is top-notch, but increases your risk for rebound headache, stomach ulcers, and heart disease.
To get the most out of your migraine medications, whether you take over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs or prescribed migraine treatments, it’s important to avoid migraine triggers where they exist, in order to reduce your dependence on migraine meds while at the same time increasing their potency.
- Find out which foods are most likely to cause migraine headaches, and avoid them
- Drink water to avoid dehydration headaches
- Don’t skip meals
- Avoid napping during the day
- Experiment with healthy alternative treatments that benefit migraine patients, such as butterbur, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and magnesium deficiencies are sometimes at the heart of migraine attack frequency.
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Which migraine pain reliever do you use? Have OTC medications like Advil, Tylenol, or Excedrin been effective at treating migraine headaches?
Have you tried supplementing with natural ingredients that reduce your need for pain relievers?
Please leave your comments below.
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