Study Summary: OTC Treatment of Migraine Pain

OTC treatment of migraine clinical study summary

Background and Objective

Pain freedom and sustained pain relief are important in the acute treatment of migraine. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, or caffeine combination products (CCP) are recommended as first-line treatment for the acute treatment of mild-to-moderate migraine attacks.

Over the counter (OTC) drugs are largely chosen by patients without any guidance, resulting in inadequate and ineffective treatment of migraine, which contributes to the need for more frequent dosing and potential overuse, thereby significantly increasing migraine burden.

A recent study looked to identify predictors of acute treatment response for nonprescription (OTC) medications among people with migraine in order to develop improved models for predicting treatment response.

Study details

A prediction model development study was conducted using retrospectively collected data from the 2006 American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study survey.

Study involved participants aged ≥18 years, who met criteria for episodic migraine < 15 days a month in past 3 months, and used ≥1 of acute migraine medication classes: acetaminophen, aspirin, NSAIDs, or caffeine containing combination products (CCP).


More than half of the migraine patients treating with OTC drugs did not achieve adequate pain freedom within 2 hours or sustained pain relief for 24 hours due to inappropriate use of OTC medication.

Individuals taking CCP like the medicine in Excedrin Migraine were more likely to have adequate pain freedom within 2 hours and sustained pain relief up to 24 hours, in comparison to acetaminophen, aspirin and NSAIDs

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  • Clinical implications

    • HCPs should consider significant predictors of adequate pain freedom and pain relief to choose the best therapeutic option for episodic migraine patients.
    • CCP (like Excedrin Migraine) should be the first choice of OTC drug in migraine patients.
    • Use of CCP (like Excedrin Migraine) appears to be associated with a better therapeutic result in migraine treatment in comparison to other OTC drugs.

    Excedrin Migraine is the #1 Neurologist-recommended OTC, with a proven safety profile. Its triple action formula of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine starts relieving migraine pain in 30 minutes for some patients

    Learn more about Excedrin Migraine.

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