Experts have claimed that as many as 60% of chronic headaches are drug-induced. It's quite ironic that the abuse or frequent use of medications used to relieve the symptoms of a headache can actually end up perpetuating the headache or cause new headaches. In addition, physical dependency and organ damage are also extremely common complications associated with chronic analgesic usage.
Drug-induced headaches are usually dull, diffuse and non-throbbing affecting both sides of the head. They are frequently present first thing in the morning and persist throughout the day.
Medical experts say that analgesic medications (over the counter or prescription) should not be used more frequently than 1 to 2 days per week. Using medications beyond this period will gradually increase the frequency of the headaches and will further increase their intensity of the pain. Unfortunately, although there is extensive documentation on drug-induced headaches, many medical physicians fail to pay attention to this fact or are simply unaware. Worse yet, the many tv drug commercials are made to make us feel as though pain relievers are a safe effective means of relief for headaches. However, taking pain medication for chronic headaches without seeking corrective care is like unplugging the flashing oil light in your car dash, instead of adding oil to the engine.
The most common medications which lead to the development of drug-induced headaches include:
- Aspirin - Tylenol - Excedrin - Anacin - Demerol - Vicodin - Percocet
- Darvon - Xanex - Fiorinal - oral contraceptives - tetracycline
- heart medications
Simply eliminating or limiting the use of analgesic use will resolve most if not all of the headaches. However, most individuals are unaware that the drugs they're taking can sometimes do them more harm than good.