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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default Rebound Headaches

    Does anyone have experience with rebound headaches and how to get rid of them?

    History- I have been dependent on Excedrin and taking at least one dose per day for about 15 years. Lately (over the last year or so) I have found myself needing to increase to two and sometimes three doses a day to keep the headaches at bay. This can't possibly be good for me.

    At first I though it was only a caffeine dependence, but when I tried dropping the Excedrin and taking caffeine tablets, the headaches persisted and even got worse. In researching online I have learned that combination analgesics like Excedrin are some of the worse offenders for rebound.

    Normal treatments include prescriptions of anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, and/or alternative pain killers. I took anti-depressants after the premature birth of my daughter and I swore I would never take them again. When I was on them I felt like someone else (who I didn't like) was in control of my thoughts. I worry about pain killers because if I got myself dependent on Excedrin, who's to say I won't get hooked on something else (my dad died of alcoholism related illnesses, so addiction could be in my genes).

    Does anyone here have any "alternative" suggestions? I've tried to go "cold turkey" but I didn't make it a day before it got to be more than I could stand. I've got no medical insurance and a tight budget, so I'm trying to avoid too much medical intervention.
    "Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care." ~Jimmy Buffett



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2005
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    Mass.
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    6,681

    Default

    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
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    1,870

    Default

    I would talk to a doctor and/or pharmacist. There are some painkillers out there that are non-habit forming that might take care of the rebound headaches. Also, I don't know what kind of pill Excedrin is, but ask your pharmacist if you could cut them in half and take lower doses spread out over the day.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007
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    PA
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    5,061

    Default

    Have you been to a neurologist? I get terrible migraines and my neurologist has given me the tools to combat them.

    My sister suffered for years from rebound headaches until her neurologist worked out a regimen that helped her to control her headaches and avoid the rebound effect.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default

    I second the suggestion of a neurologist, but I wanted to also add: Don't let a bad experience with ONE anti-depressant put you off of trying all of them if that's what the doctor feels is the best route for you to try.

    There's a wide variety of them now and different versions will work for different people - I'm on them because there's some evidence they help with migraines, and the first one my doctor put me on I felt really just plain WEIRD. Like, something would happen and I'd know I should be happy or sad, but I just wasn't. The one I'm on now? No problems. I feel fine.

    (Actually, my mom just went to a presentation on anti-depressants as part of a continuing education thing - she's a nurse, so if you want you can PM me and I'll see if she recalls which ones the doctor doing the presentation said were the 'better' ones to start off on for most people, in terms of side effects and coming off. Paxil, btw, going by the experience of everyone I have known EVER who was on it, is AWFUL. So I would not try that one unless it was the last option, because getting off of it sucks.)



  6. #6
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    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
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    4,166

    Default

    My 11 year old son is seeing a neurologist. He had frequent headaches which the Dr. diagnosed as migraines, to my surprise. (They weren't completely debilitating). He put my son on co-enzyme Q10, which is available over the counter. My son's headaches went away within a few days.

    The doctor mentioned a study which showed that co-Q10 got rid of headaches in 70% of the people in the study. My son is on 300 mg/day, 200 in the am and 100 in the pm. The doctor said it takes 8 weeks for the co-Q10 levels to build up to where they should be, but again it worked within days for my son.

    I got the impression that it was an innocuous vitamin -- he told me of putting his teenage son on it, and said it would be OK to put *my* teenage son on it too, without the doctor seeing him.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SMF11 View Post
    My 11 year old son is seeing a neurologist. He had frequent headaches which the Dr. diagnosed as migraines, to my surprise. (They weren't completely debilitating). He put my son on co-enzyme Q10, which is available over the counter. My son's headaches went away within a few days.

    The doctor mentioned a study which showed that co-Q10 got rid of headaches in 70% of the people in the study. My son is on 300 mg/day, 200 in the am and 100 in the pm. The doctor said it takes 8 weeks for the co-Q10 levels to build up to where they should be, but again it worked within days for my son.

    I got the impression that it was an innocuous vitamin -- he told me of putting his teenage son on it, and said it would be OK to put *my* teenage son on it too, without the doctor seeing him.
    I think they specifically did a study in Europe - I want to say Denmark - about coq10 and migraines, if anyone wants to go looking for it.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
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    1,235

    Default

    I too take Excedrin alot! I have terrible migraines and Excedrin is the only thing that helps. I try to tough it out because I dont want to end up having to take it everyday.

    My suggestion is see a neurologist. I know its not your first choice since you dont have insurance but they should have some insight as to what you can do. Change in diet might help. There are so many food triggers that its unbelievable.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2000
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default

    If these truly are "rebound headaches", then reducing your use of Excedrin is the only way to really address the issue. Whenever I over-achieve on Excedrin (I should own stock in the company ... it's the only thing that actually works on all my pain issues), I usually map out a step-down schedule for reducing my use.

    For example, if I have been taking a dose every eight hours, I shift to every 9 hours, then every ten hours, 11 hours, 12 hours, etc, until either the rebound headaches stop or I am down to one dose as needed. It does require a certain amount of toughing it out -- there's no way around that. I use cold compresses, a nap in a dark room, fresh air and light exercise -- whatever works at the moment.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default

    Thanks to all for the suggestions. My MIL takes co-Q10 and swears it makes her feel great but I had never tried it due to the cost. It may be time to check it out.

    If it starts to get really bad I will go see a neurologist. Perhaps I can put out a few feelers with my daughter's neuro at her next appointment and see if he has any suggestions.
    "Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care." ~Jimmy Buffett



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2010
    Location
    All 'round Canadia
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    Default

    This is a pretty good article on medication overuse headaches (migraine sufferers are particularly susceptible, but non-migraine headaches happen too). Unfortunately weaning is opretty much the only way to combat this, and support with other meds may be required during the weaning period:

    http://www.ccjm.org/content/77/4/236.full

    Have you tried meds in another family to help you through the weaning period, like NSAIDs?



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
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    Default

    rebound headaches are hell. but i'm with everyone else in that the only way to fix this issue is to wean off the excedrin, and see a GOOD neuro. sometimes they do have useful suggestions, unless you're the type to have horrible reactions to almost every drug on the market.

    i spent a month in a dark room when i went off one of my meds. of course, i went cold-turkey, so i don't recommend that. some things that help mine are sitting outside on a nice day, relaxing ride on the horse, cold can of coke to the head, and when all else fails, naprelan (extended-release aleve). but if you get rebounds, then you really have to make the effort to try everything else before you get to the drugs.

    for some people, high doses of magnesium and B vitamins helps.

    i'm going to try the co-q-10 though. hadn't heard that one!



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