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High-Dose Aspirin Reduces Pain For Severe Headache And Migraine

Posted Sep 22 2010 7:33pm

An inexpensive, hundred-year-old therapy for pain – aspirin – is effective in high doses for the treatment of severe headache and migraine caused by drug withdrawal, according to a new study by researchers with the UCSF Headache Center.  Study participants were administered aspirin through an IV and 25 percent of the time they reported a significant reduction in pain – three points on the 10-point pain scale.  (A difference of three points downgrades a headache from severe to moderate, moderate to mild, or from mild to pain-free).  Participants reported a more modest pain reduction about 40 percent of the time.

The findings are noteworthy because high-dose intravenous aspirin is not widely available for headache sufferers in the United States, the authors say.  Aspirin also is nontoxic, non-addictive, non-sedating, has few side effects for adults, and is less expensive than drug regimens such as triptans that physicians typically prescribe to headache patients to combat severe pain.

The study was published in the September 21, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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