Reader’s Mail: Treating Chronic Daily Headache, Fibromyalgia and More

Q. I have had chronic daily headaches and migraines with aura for years. I also have fibromyalgia, TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) disorder and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). All of these involve chronic pain. I take Relpax® for the migraines, which helps a lot with the aura and works okay for the headache. I also take Cymbalta® for depression, but haven’t noticed any pain relief from it. The only other medication I seem to tolerate is Advil®. Since I have a headache “24-7”, with no beginning or ending, I never really know what causes it. How many pain relievers (like Advil) do you have to take to get a rebound headache? I never take more than two a day, but I wonder if taking them for several days makes my headache worse. I want to do anything I can to prevent an already difficult situation from getting worse. Continue Reading

Excedrin® Will Return this Month

Excedrin Migraine

Headache sufferers who have missed Excedrin®, off the market since a recall last January, will be happy to hear its return to store shelves is expected soon.

The company recently announced that it will start shipping Excedrin® and Excedrin®Migraine this month. It does not have a fixed date yet to ship Excedrin® Extra Strength, according to a Novartis representative, but it is hoping to begin shipping that medication again in the near future as well.

Novartis closed its Lincoln, Nebraska, plant and recalled medication 10 months ago when it learned bottles of Excedrin contained tablets from other Novartis products including other analgesics  produced at the same plant.

New Guidelines to Improve Research into Tension-Type Headache

New guidelines for researching tension-type headache may lead to more effective treatments for this common form of headache. The guidelines were published by the International Headache Society in the January issue of Cephalalgia in order to spur research into treatments for episodic and chronic tension-type headache and to reduce health risks associated with the use of analgesics.

The new recommendations describe ways to improve the quality and safety of research, including clinical trial safety, and how to determine whether drugs currently in use are sufficiently effective and safe. Studies have shown that frequent use of analgesics can raise the risk of side effects, including kidney and liver problems, and of developing medication overuse headache (also called rebound headache).

For more information.

Taking Both Analgesics and Triptans Worsens Medication Overuse Headache

While medication overuse headache can develop from too frequent use of either triptans or analgesics alone, taking analgesics and triptans leads to a form of overuse headache that is more complex and difficult to treat. Using the two is associated with “a shift from a pattern of clear-cut headache attacks in patients with triptan overuse headache toward more severe clinical presentation,” wrote Christelle Creach, MD, and colleagues in the journal Headache. Continue Reading

Coexisting Migraine and Tension-Type Headaches

Some patients will describe a daily, chronic tension-type headache as well as a recurrent hard or “sick” migraine-like headache. This combination of tension-type and migraine headaches, previously known as the mixed headache syndrome, is now identified as coexisting migraine and tension-type headaches. Other terms used for it include: transformed migraine, chronic migraine and chronic daily headache. Continue Reading