Caffeine is known to many as a stimulant that aids in mental alertness, particularly after a sleepless night or when you are running low on energy. This particular substance can be found in numerous plant species, but coffee beans are the most popular type of plant with this substance in them.
Apart from providing people with a kickstart to their day, scientists have also proven that caffeine has many other uses. Among these, it can actually help in the treatment of headaches.
For this reason, some people are used to taking caffeine pills to ease their migraines. However, before you start taking them, there are some things you need to be aware of.
Caffeine Pills: 7 Things You Need to Know
1. Where to buy them
Caffeine pills for headaches are over-the-counter (OTC) or non-prescription drugs which are widely available in convenience stores or pharmacy outlets. With regards to dosage of each pill in a package, this kind of medication usually comes in 200 mg tablets. As with any other kind of pharmaceuticals, prior to buying any brand of tablets, read the package carefully and follow the instructions on the label.
In fact, as we always recommend, you should always consult a doctor first before taking this kind of medication, as it can affect everyone differently.
For most adults, 400 mg or two tablets of caffeine per day is generally a safe dosage. However, if you are a heavy coffee drinker and have a history of headaches caused by caffeine overdose, you might need to go easy on caffeine pills.
Some of the known symptoms of caffeine overdose are nausea, muscle tremors, insomnia, and irritability among others. Palpitations or increased heart rate have also been reported by some patients who have experienced a caffeine overdose.
It sounds counterintuitive, but when used with a chemical called ergotamine, which aids narrowing the blood vessels to the brain, caffeine pills are known to be effective in treating migraine headaches.
In fact, caffeine is an active ingredient in various medications for headaches, such as Excedrin, Anacin, Fioricet, and Migranal, to name a few.
It is quite strange to think that a substance can both cure and cause headaches, but this is just testament to the complexity of the human body and physiology.
Interestingly, caffeine is also used with painkillers in treating headaches caused by epidural anesthesia.
A lot of people swear by drinking a strong cup of coffee as a cure for tension headaches, too, even though some people also recommend decreasing caffeine consumption to relieve stress. Go figure!
5. Chronic Daily Headaches (CDH)
According to medical experts, chronic daily headache (CDH) patients typically use caffeine pills or caffeine beverages as part of their headache medications. On the other hand, heavy coffee drinkers are at a higher risk of developing CDH due to overdose or dehydration.
6. Measure Your Pulse
To be on the safe side, periodically measure your pulse before and after taking the medication. A normal resting heart rate for most adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute.
7. Consult a Doctor if Necessary
It takes about an hour for this kind of medication to be fully absorbed into the bloodstream, as it takes time for your body to break it down first. Check your pulse before taking them, then check it again an hour after. You should see a doctor in case you have an abnormally high heart rate.
Migraine(1) experts note that caffeine may have different effects on different individuals. For instance, heavy coffee drinkers may not get relief from caffeine pills. Conversely, if you are not accustomed to drinking coffee, you might develop a dependency on caffeine and thereby an increased migraine frequency.
Thus, for people hoping to cure their headaches with caffeine, they should not take this kind of medication for over two days per week. It may also be a good idea to withdraw from caffeine for several months if one’s headache(s) persists. Experts agree that there is no way to accurately measure caffeine’s effects on the brain, but it certainly depends on your average daily consumption.
There are many different causes of headaches, therefore, it is important to consult a medical professional to ascertain whether or not you are actually suffering from a caffeine headache, or whether you have a migraine that can be treated with caffeine pills.
It seems to be contradictory, but it appears that caffeine can both cause and cure headaches. This shows us that when it comes to this kind of substance, there really is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Ultimately, it all depends on your body and on your own physiological makeup. Certain treatments might work very well for some, while others might experience overdose symptoms from just one cup of very strong coffee. It really all depends, which makes it very important to do your homework before taking any kind of medication.