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Are over-the-counter (OTC) headache medications effective?

When most people get a headache, they reach for whatever painkiller they happen to have in their medicine cabinet. And most of the time, an over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic, or pain reliever offers the needed relief. This easy, effective strategy is fine for people who have mild to moderately painful headaches once in a while. But if you need to take an OTC analgesic more than a couple of times a week, you're suffering from regular, rather than occasional, headaches, and you should see your doctor. Also, talk to your doctor if OTC medications don't ease your pain. These medications are ineffective for many people with severe headaches, but a prescription drug may provide relief.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.