How does Hydrocodone/APAP treat migraine headaches?

Matthew F. McCarty, MD

Most likely the acetaminophen or the Tylenol component helps most immediately. The narcotic hydrocodone will help the pain by stimulating the mu receptors but often repeated use can lead to more frequent headaches also known as rebound headaches. In fact, the International Headache Associations standards bottom line is that rebound headaches are more likely if you take painkillers or migraine absorbents more than twice a week or 10 times in a month.

Other pain medication which can lead to rebound  or more frequent headaches include Amerge, Axert, Frova, Relpax, and Zomig. Ergots like cafergot, DHE 45, migranal, and sansert as well as OTC painkillers Tylenol, excedrin, Vanquish, aspirin, Motrin Naprosyn. Indomethacin, torradol, piroxicam as well as all opioids such as fentanyl, methadone, oxycodone, lortab, lorcet, and morphine can also cause rebound headaches if used frequently.

Hydrocodone/APAP (APAP is an abreviation for acetaminophen) treats migraine pain by causing the brain and central nervous system to not perceive the pain and increase the pain threshold.