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Ibuprofen for Treatment of Episodic Tension-Type Headaches

 

Am Fam Physician. 2016 May 1;93(9):online.

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IBUPROFEN FOR TENSION-TYPE HEADACHES

Number needed to treat = 1 in 14 patients are pain-free at two hours

BenefitsHarms

1 in 14 became headache-associated pain-free at 2 hours

None developed adverse events

1 in 6 reported “very good” or “excellent” scores on a global evaluation scale

1 in 9 did not use an additional rescue medication

IBUPROFEN FOR TENSION-TYPE HEADACHES

Number needed to treat = 1 in 14 patients are pain-free at two hours

BenefitsHarms

1 in 14 became headache-associated pain-free at 2 hours

None developed adverse events

1 in 6 reported “very good” or “excellent” scores on a global evaluation scale

1 in 9 did not use an additional rescue medication

Details for This Review

Study Population: Adult patients with frequent, episodic tension-type headaches

Efficacy End Points: Pain-free at one hour, pain-free at two hours, global evaluation, and use of rescue medication within six hours

Harm End Points: Any adverse events

Narrative: Tension-type headaches are common.1 Persons who experience one to 14 tension-type headaches per month are defined as having episodic tension-type headaches,2 and ibuprofen is often used for treatment.

This Cochrane review of 12 studies with 3,094 total participants sought to determine the effectiveness of ibuprofen for episodic tension-type headaches.3 All included trials were randomized comparisons of 400 mg of ibuprofen vs. placebo. Although there was no significant difference between ibuprofen and placebo at one hour, more patients treated with ibuprofen were pain-free at two hours (number needed to treat [NNT] = 14) and more likely to report “very good” or “excellen

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.

REFERENCES

show all references

1. Hainer BL, Matheson EM. Approach to acute headache in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2013;87(10):682–687....

2. Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd ed. (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629–808.

3. Derry S, Wiffen PJ, Moore RA, Bendtsen L. Ibuprofen for acute treatment of episodic tension-type headache in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(7):CD011474.

4. Bendtsen L, Evers S, Linde M, Mitsikostas DD, Sandrini G, Schoenen J; EFNS. EFNS guideline on the treatment of tension-type headache—report of an EFNS task force. Eur J Neurol. 2010;17(11):1318–1325.


 

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