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Headache pills cause chronic headaches: study

Headache pills cause chronic headaches: study

Published: 19 May 2010 07:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 May 2010 11:17 GMT+02:00

Overuse of common over-the-counter painkillers can cause chronic headaches, according to an ongoing Swedish study.

Women are shown to be the worst hit by the problem with the chronic headaches three times as likely than among men.

"We usually call this a paradox. We don't know for certain what the reason is, but taking medicine more that ten days per month over at least three months carries a greater risk of being afflicted," said Pernilla Jonsson, a researcher at Gothenburg University, to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

The study, which has been funded by state pharmaceutical chain Apoteket AB's research fund, has looked at a sample of 45,000 randomly selected people who have been questioned over their use of pain killers and incidence of headaches.

150,000 people are reported to suffer from chronic headaches in Sweden, the newspaper writes.

According to the results of the study so-called triptans, used for the treatment of migraine headaches the 1980s, tend to cause the most rapid onset of chronic headaches, while regular medicines such as Alvedon are the most common cause.

The researchers, at the Department of Social Medicine at Gothenburg University, warn that the phenomenon could develop into a public health issue and cause significant costs to society.

The interviews in the study were mostly conducted before the pharmacy reform which broke the state monopoly and allowed for regular retail stores to stock non-prescription.

"We don't know what effect increase access can have, but one suspects that over-use increases," Jonsson told the newspaper.

Jonsson explained that the most commonly suggested treatment for the condition is to scale down the use of painkillers which in turn prompts a short-term side effect of increased headaches and pain.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:00 May 19, 2010 by DAVID T
All women get headaches and it's nothing to do with common over-the-counter painkillers
09:04 May 19, 2010 by karex
I think the key to all this reserach is plainly stated: "funded by state pharmaceutical chain Apoteket AB's research fund" they would earn a lot more money if all over-the-counter medications were banned and people were forced to buy everything from the pharmacy with a prescription. It would take many times longer to get the prescreption and cost a whole lot more...
09:32 May 19, 2010 by peropaco
I wonder why they show a picture of Tylenol instead of Alvedon??? Cause the local will most probably lose some future revenues had the shown Alvedon..
10:31 May 19, 2010 by YankeeViking
When will we see a story on how much cheaper the over the counter medicine is now the the Monopoly has kind of surrendered,...... not holding my breath
12:41 May 19, 2010 by boby
Why show a picture of Tylenol? This is libel, just becuase it is not sold in Sweden. I hope thay sue you
13:24 May 19, 2010 by Already in use
Didn't we already know that? And isn't it stated as a common side-effect on the medication? What sort of news is that?
13:54 May 19, 2010 by Streja
David T, only a few men have that problem! :)

I agree with already in use. Old news!
17:52 May 19, 2010 by Swedesmith
My boss causes me severe headaches.
00:25 May 20, 2010 by Vidyadhara
Hey guys!

Taking too many pills that affect certain areas of the nervous system for prolonged periods can have negative effects on precisely that part of the body.

WOW!!!
10:01 May 20, 2010 by Rick Methven
"Why show a picture of Tylenol? This is libel, just becuase it is not sold in Sweden. I hope thay sue you"

You just see what you want to see.

The pills are marked PANADOL a Swedish brand name - active ingredient paracetemol

Tylenol is just another brand name in the USA
00:31 May 21, 2010 by Toonie
I see PANADO. Please tell me what doo-doo PANADO does, before I get a headache.
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