Sometimes, Aspirin May Be Enough to Ease Migraines

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A cheap, century-old drug in most Americans’ medicine cabinets — aspirin — may come to the rescue for people suffering from migraines, a new study finds.

While there are effective prescription medications, many migraine patients in the United States don’t have access to them due to limited access to doctors or good insurance, or high insurance co-pays, said researchers at Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton.

Aspirin might often be a viable option for these patients, said the research team, who reviewed 13 studies of migraine treatment involving more than 4,200 patients. The investigators also looked at data on the prevention of recurrent migraine in tens of thousands of patients.

The results suggest that giving a high dose of aspirin — 900 to 1,300 milligrams (mg) — when migraine symptoms set in is an effective and safe treatment for acute migraine.

There’s also evidence that daily aspirin doses of 81 to 325 mg may be an effective and safe treatment for prevention of recurrent migraine, the team said. The standard “low-dose” aspirin pill, taken by millions of Americans to help lower heart risks, contains 81 mg.

The bottom line: “Our review supports the use of high-dose aspirin to treat acute migraine as well as low-dose daily aspirin to prevent recurrent attacks,” senior author Dr. Charles Hennekens, professor and senior academic advisor at the university’s College of Medicine, said in a school news release.

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