There are a lot of headache and migraine medications on the market. All offer a similar list of benefits, causing many people to think that they’re all interchangeable. However, there is a difference between headache medications.
Excedrin, often called the headache expert, has been making medicines for headache relief for over 50 years, making it one of the older brands in the country. It stands apart from other headache medications because it doesn’t try to be a general pain reliever, it works to treat headaches and migraines. This focus has made it a powerhouse in the market today.
What is Excedrin?
Excedrin is a multi-ingredient head medication that treats a wide range of different headaches. It’s popular for being a safe and effective over-the-counter option for people who suffer from a variety of headaches.
Excedrin was founded in 1960 as Excedrin Extra Strength. In 1969 it added its Excedrin PM product, which combined its headache fighting elements with a sleeping pill. Since then, it has only added two other products to its line, Excedrin Migraine and Excedrin Tension Headache.
These four products have been the pillars of the Excedrin brand, creating a foundation for it to flourish on for the past 56 years.
Active Ingredients in Excedrin
Excedrin has three main active ingredients, though Excedrin PM has an ingredient that promotes sleep. These three ingredients are aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. Each component offers a specific benefit that helps fight even the toughest headaches.
Used for decades to treat a variety of headache pains, aspirin is the first active ingredient in Excedrin. This product very specifically helps fight headaches and migraines and is in all but one of Excedrin’s products.
While acetaminophen is a general pain reliever, combined with aspirin it is a powerful aid in fending off lingering headaches. Because it is a general pain reliever, it can also ease the aches and pains in the shoulders and neck that often come with headaches. It is found in every single one of Excedrin’s products
Though caffeine isn’t found in Excedrin PM, it is found in the rest. Caffeine acts as a booster for the aspirin and acetaminophen in Excedrin, enhancing their pain relief capabilities and getting them through the body faster.
What Does Excedrin Treat?
As mentioned above, Excedrin is the headache expert. This medication very specifically treats headaches and migraines. However, as research and studies have brought new things about head pains to light, it’s become obvious that there are a wide range of headache and migraine types. Excedrin aims to treat all of them.
Different Types of Headaches
There are four main types of headaches. For people who suffer from frequent headaches, knowing which one they have will help them decide which version of Excedrin will work best to treat the issue.
A tension headache is the most common of all headaches. It usually feels like a slight pressure being put on the head, causing an ache on both sides of the head. Tension headaches often come with pain in the neck and shoulders. While they aren’t the most painful headaches, they can cause enough discomfort to be quite a nuisance.
Tensions headaches are vary between sporadic or chronic, meaning people either get them consistently or every now and then.
After migraine headaches, cluster headaches are often considered the most serious, and most painful, type of headache. It often causes extreme pain behind one of the eyes or around the nose, lasting from a few minutes to several hours.
With cluster headaches, the pain is sudden and can happen almost every day. For those who suffer from these types of headaches, it can often mean months or years of painful, numbing headaches. Powerful pain relief medication is needed to treat these headaches, like Excedrin Extra Strength, so that suffers can continue with their lives.
Unlike other headaches, sinus headaches are often the result of inflamed sinuses, caused by colds or sinus infections. When the sinus become inflamed, they press on the nasal bones, eyes, and cheeks, causing a steady pressured pain. This pain is often accompanied with fever and a clogged or runny nose. The pain often gets worse when the head is moved.
Migraines are in a class of their own because, unlike the other three types of headaches, migraines are often an inherited condition. Migraines usually cause a steady pounding or throbbing in the head, often on one side. This throbbing causes an acute ache that can lead to nausea and vomiting. Because migraines often cause light sensitivity in suffers, this type of headache is known for seriously interfering with daily life.
Often, migraines have warning signals, like a change in mood or a sense of restlessness. A growing sensitivity to smells and light can be a sign that a migraine is forming. It’s often best to take medication as soon as these warning signals start, to prevent the migraine headache from growing worse.
Excedrin Migraine helps treat these migraine headaches so that people can get back to their daily routines without pain.
Excedrin and Other Treatments
Because Excedrin has been around for so long, the company has acquired vast piles of information about headaches. Unlike other companies that want to keep users dependent on their product, Excedrin offers this information freely to its customers, in an effort to make their lives easier and to prevent further headaches.
Excedrin has thoroughly researched the many causes of headaches and found several common triggers that people can avoid, so they hopefully suffer less frequently from headaches.
The Most Common Food Triggers Are:
— Red or White Wine
— Alcoholic Beverages
— MSG (monosodium glutamate)
— Pickled Foods or Vinegar
The Most Common Lifestyle Triggers Are:
— Bad Posture
— Tense Jaws
— Poor Meal Habits
— Lack of Sleep
— Changes in Weather
By keeping track of when they get headaches and if these headaches correspond with anything in the list above, Excedrin users might be able to find a trigger. Once the trigger is identified, they can avoid it and, hopefully, use Excedrin less.
With so many different types of headaches and triggers for headaches, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out how much of an Excedrin product to use to treat these headaches. Thankfully, the company has recognized that this may be an issue and has released all the information needed to get the correct dose to get the best results from Excedrin.
Excedrin Extra Strength
This product has acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine, making it quite the powerful pain reliever. Two should be taken every six hours, with a maximum of 6 per day. This version should only be used by those over the age of 12.
Excedrin Extra Strength comes in caplets and gel tablets.
The migraine medication also has acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine, but only two of these pills should be taken a day, since it’s so much more powerful. This option is not safe for children and should only be used by those 18 years or older.
Excedrin Migraine comes in caplets and gel tablets.
Excedrin Tension Headache
Unlike the rest of the Excedrin products, the tension headache option does not have aspirin, though it still has acetaminophen and caffeine. Two of these pills can be taken every six hours, though only six should be taken per day, maximum. Like Excedrin Extra Strength, it should only be used by those 12 and older.
Excedrin Tension Headache only comes in caplets.
Excedrin PM Headache
The aim of Excedrin PM is to provide headache relief, but also help the user sleep. Because of this, it does not contain caffeine, but instead has diphenhydramine citrate, a sleep aid. It still has acetaminophen and aspirin. Only 2 of these pills should be taken a day and they should only be used by those 12 and older.
Excedrin PM Headache only comes in caplets.
For every version of Excedrin, a full glass of water should be consumed when the pill is taken.