What are over-the-counter medications for treating headaches?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

For many people, the natural reaction when they experience pain (after yelping) is to reach for the pill bottle. And that's okay. Here are your OTC choices: Ibuprofen, aspirin, and medications that are marketed for migraines (they include acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine). But if OTCs don't work, your doc may opt for a prescription-strength version of the same drug, or may recommend a popular class of drugs called triptans, like sumatriptan or rizatriptan (an older version of drugs called ergots are cheaper, but they're not considered as effective and have more and more major side effects).

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