Aspirin ‘effective against migraine’
Aspirin eases the pain of migraine for many people and should be tried as a first line of attack against the devastating condition, experts have said.
More than half of patients saw their symptoms ease substantially when they took the common painkiller.
For one in four the pills removed their pain completely, a review of studies published by the respected Cochrane Library shows.
Many migraine sufferers already use over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin to ease their pain.
But researchers said there was little evidence on how effective the drugs were against the condition.
The review looked at 13 studies involving a total of 4,222 patients, to compare the benefits of aspirin against a placebo.
The findings show that that taking three tablets of aspirin within two hours of symptoms developing was effective for many sufferers.
Sheena Derry, from the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, and one of the researchers of the review, said: "My advice for sufferers would be to try aspirin or other over-the-counter medicines as a first choice and then go onto more migraine specific drugs if these do not work.
"A significant number of people will benefit from aspirin."
She added that she was "surprised" at how well aspirin worked against migraine.
More than nine million people in Britain are thought to suffer from the condition, making it more common than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined.
Symptoms include excruciating head pain as well as nausea.
The World Health Organisation lists migraine as one of its top 20 most debilitating conditions, because of the impact it can have on quality of life.
The team now plans to look at other common over-the-counter painkillers, including Ibuprofen and paracetamol.
© The Telegraph Group London 2010