Caffeine and Headache
Here are some of the most important facts about caffeine and its relationship to headache.
- Most people feel the effects of caffeine within 30 minutes.
- Generally, the effects of caffeine last 3 to 5 hours.
- The average American consumes about 227 mg of caffeine daily, or the equivalent of about 2-3 cups of coffee.
- People who get headaches should clearly understand how caffeine affects their headaches.
Caffeine in headache medications
- Adding 130 mg of caffeine to a regular, two-tablet dose of common ingredients found pain relievers (aspirin and acetaminophen) makes them relieve tension-type headache pain about 40% better than they do without caffeine. Caffeine also helps your body absorb these medications, allowing you to get back to your daily life faster.
- Because analgesics work better when they have caffeine added, you may be able to take less medicine when you have a headache. And because even non-prescription medications are real medicine with the potential for side effects, taking less reduces the risks associated with inappropriate use.
Caffeine and medication overuse headache
- Medication overuse headache is a serious problem that develops from taking headache medications too often, even at the recommended dose.
Medication overuse headache is constant-it won't go away until you completely stop taking the drugs that are causing the problem.
- Any headache medicine can cause medication overuse headache-taking caffeine-containing headache medications doesn't appear to increase the risk.
- Medication overuse headache is rare; in fact, only 1% of the general population is reported to have it.
Addiction or dependence
- According to the American Psychiatric Association, caffeine is not addictive, and it does not resemble addictive or habit-forming drugs that lead to severe physical and social consequences.
- Significant caffeine abuse has not been reported by any culture in the world.
- When used according to label directions, headache medicines with caffeine pose no risk of addiction or dependence.
Caffeine withdrawal headache
- Technically, a person needs to use more than 200 mg of caffeine every day for at least two weeks before they can be diagnosed with a caffeine withdrawal headache.
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