Taking medication is one way to deal with headaches that continue to attack. Most headache medications you can buy at pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. However, the type of pain reliever you take may vary from person to person, depending on the cause of the headache and what other symptoms you are experiencing. Certain types of headaches may also require more specific medication from your doctor. Here’s the list.
List of headache relievers that can be purchased at pharmacies
There are many options for medications to relieve headaches. However, quoted from the Mayo Clinic, it is important for you to be able to identify in advance what causes and signs and symptoms of headaches you are experiencing before choosing the medicine.
It should also be noted that not all OTC (on-the-counter/nonprescription over-the-counter drugs) drugs in pharmacies can relieve all cases of headaches. Sometimes, headaches due to certain medical conditions or that have been going on for a long time require different treatment. But in general, the following are the most effective and frequently used drugs to relieve headaches:
Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that contains salicylates to relieve mild to moderate headaches. Usually, this drug treats tension headaches and migraines.
This drug works by blocking the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) which forms the hormone prostaglandin, a hormone that helps send pain signals to the brain and trigger inflammation. By taking aspirin, prostaglandin levels can reduce and the pain will subside.
These headache medications are usually available in tablet form that you can buy at pharmacies with or without a doctor’s prescription. Regarding the dose, adults can take aspirin for headache relief as much as 300-600 milligrams (mg) every four to six hours. However, avoid taking this medication more than twice a week as it can cause rebound headaches.
Ibuprofen Effects of COVID-19. This is also an NSAID drug that blocks the action of the cyclooxygenase enzyme to form prostaglandins to trigger pain. This type of drug is to treat tension headaches and migraines.
The recommended dose of ibuprofen for headache relief in adults is 200-400 milligrams three times a day. While the dose for children is determined based on the age and weight of the child. Ask your pediatrician about the use and dosage of ibuprofen as a headache medicine in children.
This drug is available in generic or branded forms that can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies, with or without a doctor’s prescription. This type of drug can also added aspirin and naproxen or analgesic drugs, such as celecoxib and diclofenac to relieve pain.
However, do not use ibuprofen to treat headaches in pregnant women or those who are planning a pregnancy. The reason, ibuprofen has the potential to affect fetal development. For more details, ask your doctor about headache medications that are safe for pregnant women.
3. Acetaminophen (paracetamol)
Acetaminophen is a class of analgesic drugs that is effective in relieving mild to moderate headaches, and is available in pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor. This drug has another name, namely paracetamol.
The recommended dose of acetaminophen for adults varies, depending on the dosage of the drug you are taking and your weight. But in general, the dose of paracetamol tablets to relieve headaches in adults is 1-2 tablets per 500 mg, every 4-6 hours.
This drug is work better than ibuprofen in treating tension headaches and migraines. A study published in The Journal of Head and Face Pain states that acetaminophen may work better with migraines when used in combination with aspirin and caffeine.
Similar to ibuprofen and aspirin, indomethacin is also classified as an NSAID drug. Indomethacin can be an option for the treatment of cluster headache, although it requires high doses for effectiveness.
In addition, this drug can also help treat chronic headaches and prevent and treat migraine attacks that are quite severe.
However, unlike the three drugs above, indomethacin is a headache medicine that you can buy at a pharmacy with a prescription from a doctor. The dose will be determined by the doctor based on the cause and severity of symptoms.
Sumatriptan is a selective serotonin receptor agonist drug. You can only purchase with a prescription from a doctor. This drug works with constricting blood vessels to stop pain signals to the brain. So it can blocking the release of natural substances that trigger pain, nausea, and other symptoms of pain.
This drug is most effective in stopping migraines in the few minutes when symptoms start. But cluster headaches can also be healed with sumatriptan. If your migraine symptoms improve and come back two hours after taking sumatriptan, you can take a second dose as long as you get permission from your doctor.
However, if your symptoms do not improve despite taking sumatriptan, do not use this drug again without the permission of your doctor. Always follow the doctor’s instructions regarding its use. The reason is, if sumatriptan is taken in excess, i.e. more than 10 days a month, your headaches may get worse or may occur more often.
Naproxen is another drug in the NSAID class that treats to relieve pain. This drug is also treat to relieve mild to moderate headaches, especially tension headaches and migraines.
Although it has the same way of working as other NSAIDs, naproxen is considered less effective at relieving headaches. Therefore, this drug treat companion with other drugs.
Ketorolac (Toradol) is an NSAID drug that is useful in treating moderate to severe headaches, including migraines and tension headaches. This drug has a relatively fast action on the body with a duration of about six hours.
This type of drug is available in two forms, namely injection (injection) and oral. Ketorolac injection is more effective than oral. Therefore the injectable form is often treat patients in the emergency room who experience severe headaches. Oral ketorolac is usually treate patient. But only for a short period of time, which is about five days.
Although relatively fast, ketorolac can also cause various side effects, such as nausea and stomach and stomach disorders. In the long term, this drug is also at risk of causing kidney damage.
Zolmitriptan can treat migraine headaches because it helps relieve nausea and other migraine symptoms. However, these prescription drugs will only treat recent pain and cannot prevent headaches or reduce the number of attacks.
The way it works is by narrowing the blood vessels around the brain and reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances. As with sumatriptan, if your symptoms improve after taking this drug and the attacks return after 2 hours, you can take the tablets again. However, if your symptoms do not improve after taking this medicine, do not take it again without your doctor’s permission.
You should not use Zolmitriptan if you have high blood pressure or problems that cause impaired blood circulation. Consult a doctor for the right type of medication.
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