Saturday, July 25, 2009

Acetaminophen - Not Many Options Left

During one of my Migraines a couple of weeks ago and for various reasons, I did not want to take a triptan and ended up doing one of the almost unthinkable acts in my world for a Migraine, I took an over the counter medication. I just needed to try to take the edge off so I could make it through the rest of my day without the triptan side effects so I had an Excedrin Migraine. Lo and behold within a half an hour and among other symptoms, I was unbearably itchy!

The only ingredients in the Excedrin are caffeine, acetaminophen and aspirin. Although at most I will only drink a half a cup of coffee a day, it still has caffeine in it so I ruled that out for causing me to be itchy. I waited a few days and again did the unthinkable by taking another OTC medication only this time, it was straight acetaminophen. Nothing - no itching or Migraine relief (not that I expected this).

The following week, I was given the opportunity to test the aspirin. Ut oh, aspirin seems to be the itchy culprit which also meant it was time to do more research on the internet. I gathered it is more of an intolerance or sensitivity than an actual allergy to aspirin, but probably something I want to avoid.

My research also said that if you have a sensitivity to aspirin, it is best to stay away from the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).

What is the problem now? There has been a lot of press lately about the FDA talking about limiting or banning different pain medications. I am still athletic and sometimes get sore in other places than my head where I need to take OTC medications.

I have read that we (aspirin sensitive people) can usually take acetaminophen to relieve pain, but an FDA panel has some recommendations out around acetaminophen including lowering its maximum daily dosage, making higher dosages available by prescription only, banning it in some prescription medications and other suggestions. Here is the complete article that was on MyMigraineConnection for you to read about Acetaminophen for Your Migraines? The FDA May Ban Some Medications.

It also mentions that this is being done because too many people are taking too high of a dose of acetaminophen and ended up hurting themselves. These recommendations are being put out there without any education being given to the consumers. Yes, I realize we could just take additional tablets without going the prescription route if needed, but is that really the answer or the right thing to do? I don't think so and besides, this is still America!

It just seems funny that they're starting to look at some of the OTC pain medications now after many doctors are afraid to prescribe prescription pain drugs because of repercussions. It doesn't make sense that the medications seem to get blamed for the incidents instead of those who aren't reading the labels and that no education is being offered for anyone so they won't know any better and could make the same mistake for the next medication they take.

When are we, the consumers, going to be held responsible for what we put into our own bodies? I know I pay the price if I eat the wrong foods that trigger a Migraine for me. This means I need to spend more time at the store reading food labels like I will have to start doing on any OTC medications now too. I don't think the Government will or should do this for me.

If I need an OTC medication for a pain and I can't take aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen and then they ban or severely limit acetaminophen, what would that leave me to try to for my normal pain?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi fellow sufferer
I found your blog at MyMigraineConnection
Itching is most probably the result of the cafeine in excedrin.