Compared to acetaminophen monotherapy, the combination of acetylsalicylic acid, caffeine and acetaminophen is more effective in treating episodic tension-type headaches, says a new study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain. This conclusion was based on four clinical trials, involving 1900 patients with episodic tension-type headaches; 6,986 headache episodes were treated, 2,247 were severe. The proportion of headache episodes pain-free at 2 hours, the primary endpoint of the study, was significantly higher for the triple combination therapy (28.5%) vs. acetaminophen alone (21.0%) or placebo (18%). Similar results were seen in patients with severe headaches at baseline, with the proportion of headache episodes pain-free at 2 hours being 20.2%, 12.1%, and 10.8%, respectively. The triple combination was also superior to acetaminophen with regards to headache response at 2 hours (mild or no pain) and ability to return to daily activities.
Most patients with episodic tension-type headache treat headache episodes with over-the-counter medication.