Which medications in the drug class Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used in the treatment of Tension Headache?

Updated: Nov 21, 2017
  • Author: Michelle Blanda, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

These agents may alleviate headache pain by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis, reducing serotonin release, and blocking platelet aggregation. Although the effects of NSAIDs in the treatment of headache pain tend to be patient specific, ibuprofen is usually the DOC for initial therapy. Other options include naproxen, ketoprofen, and ketorolac.

Ibuprofen (Ibuprin, Advil, Motrin)

Usually DOC for treatment of mild to moderately severe headache, if no contraindications.

Naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan)

For relief of mild to moderately severe pain. Inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing enzyme cyclooxygenase activity, thus inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis.

Ketoprofen (Oruvail, Orudis, Actron)

Description For relief of mild to moderately severe pain and inflammation. Small dosages initially indicated in small and elderly patients and in those with renal or liver disease. Doses over 75 mg do not increase therapeutic effects. Administer high doses with caution and closely observe patient for response.

Ketorolac (Toradol)

Inhibits prostaglandin synthesis by decreasing activity of enzyme cyclooxygenase, which results in decreased formation of prostaglandin precursors. PO form offers no advantage over other less expensive PO NSAIDs.

Indomethacin (Indocin, Indochron E-R)

Absorbed rapidly; metabolism occurs in liver by demethylation, deacetylation, and glucuronide conjugation. Useful in diagnosis as it helps other headache syndromes (eg, chronic paroxysmal hemicrania).

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