What is the advice on taking painkillers for headaches?

  • Over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin, paracetamol and triptans are effective for relieving occasional headaches.
  • Using them for tension-type headaches or migraines can reduce their effectiveness.
  • Taking painkillers up to half of the days in a month over three months is defined as overuse.
  • GPs and healthcare professionals need to better diagnose the different types of headache, and should not always advise the use of painkillers.


Painkillers can cause headaches

People who regularly take painkillers to treat persistent headaches could be causing themselves more pain than relief, the health watchdog has warned.