Severe Headache and How much is Too Much (Excedrin)

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/29/2005 4:22 AM (GMT -6)   
My headache history:

Severe migraines as a child up to around age 12.

At that point, I would have regular headaches (2-3 a week). Usually taking medication at first signs would get rid of the headache.

Every now and then I'd get a migraine (Usually does not last longer than 1-2 days).


I've had this thing for about 2.5 days now, all hours of night and day. I've been taking excedrin (2 every6-8 hours) and I'm afraid that I might be starting a viscious cycle where the excedrin will eventually cause and cure this thing.

Anyhow, the headache is a dull aching on my left temple and behind/below my left ear down to my neck. Neck is very sensitive.... when I rotate my head for stretches, I can hear all the joints and cartelidge in my neck (this is not typical for me and is more akin to the migraines I used to have as a kid).


Any good alternatives to excedrin so I can stop taking so much of it?? the label says not to exceed 2 per 24hrs (OOWW!!!)

Any body have any feedback in regards to allergy based headaches?? and or sinus headaches with the symptoms I described???

Anybody have links or info related to how high or low blood pressure affects or causes headaches??


Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 190
   Posted 8/29/2005 5:22 PM (GMT -6)   

I'd say, if you've had this headache that's out of the "norm" for almost 3 days and you're taking THAT much Excedrin you need to be heading to an Acute care center or an ER to get it checked out...and to get some relief.

The thing is, there is Aspirin in Excedrin, so you need to be careful not to take too much!  You could damage your stomach lining by taking too much and risk a bleeding ulcer; please follow the directions on the bottle.  Also, the tylenol in the Excedrin can cause liver damage if you take too much....just lovely I know!!

If it were me, I'd be getting someone to take me in to get that killer headache checked out immediately!  It doesn't sound "quite right".


Nicky (coquitlam55)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 8/29/2005 8:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello lytalbayre,
My advice is similar to Tasha's, I would head to the doctor. Whenever I have a headache that medication isn't touching I go to the doctor.
I don't touch Excedrin with a ten foot pole. The one and only time I took it, it triggered one of the worst migraines I've had. It has caffeine in it (without a narcotic like codeine) and it caused my blood vessels to dilate so fast that it knocked me flat on my back.
I would hazard a guess that you're experiencing a rebound headache - though I have no medical training, just experience. The rebound may also have triggered a migraine.
I like you suffered migraines as a child and then they disappeared. Suddenly in my mid twenties they returned and have steadily got worse.
In the meantime we have a medication in Canada called Robaxacet that is a combination of a muscle relaxant, Tylenol and something that makes you sleep (no narcotics though). I like it from time to time because it lets me sleep and breaks the cycle. I'm not sure if they sell it in other countries. In the US I always Aleve Gel Caps - though don't overtake them. This is naproxen sodium and works pretty well, especially if there is any muscle spasms related in your headaches.
But my overall opinion is go to the doctor. Don't try to self medicate anymore. I've done that too much and done more damage than good. I've ended up with more pain in the long run trying fix the problem with over the counter medications and end up with rebound headaches.
Good luck!
Coquitlam55 (aka Nicky)
"The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it." --Helen Keller
I try and remember this each day I have a headache that I'm not sure I can overcome.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 921
   Posted 8/30/2005 1:45 AM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for all the good info everyone!

THAT IS TOO MUCH EXCEDRIN! Never exceed what they recommend on the label, and no more than two days per week for rebound purposes.

Please see a doctor, this requires specific medication for head pain and not just a quick over the counter fix.

Keep in touch and let us know how things are going.

Post often and Welcome!

Sara-Migraine/Headache Forum Moderator
Thanks for Visiting

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/29/2007 6:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello, this my first post. I found the link on Google regarding Excedrin usage.

For the last probably 40 years I have been using Excedrin on a daily basis for headaches. Doctors have always said that that because of chronic sinus infections I would have severe headaches. Current usage is 2-3 every 4 - 6 hours. Nothing else works.

Recently a CAT showed the sinus cavities filled with "something" which my GP said should have me on the floor flopping around like a fish screaming in pain, hence I suppose the high Excedrin use. I am now scheduled for sinus surgery in two weeks.

Problem: My last two blood tests have shown that my quote: "Kidneys are being damaged," and I am scheduled to see a specialist later this month. This morning I started an Internet search for the medications I take and only got as far as Excedrin since the site ( speaks of Analgesic Nephropathy. Seems the amount I take could be the cause.

Questions: I have never been able to find a replacement for Excedrin for stopping headaches. Additionally, when I tried to "cold turkey" it I experienced what I believe to be extreme withdrawal symptoms. I tried the active ingredients one by one to stop headaches as was as mixing and matching with no success, including the caffeine. Is it possible that there is something in the non-active ingredients that's addictive?

Has anyone experienced this and if so, what substitute did you use that was successful?

Thanks in advance.

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/29/2007 12:22 PM (GMT -6)   
USBP1969 & Lytalbayre,

Hello, I also agree with the above, and that is far too much Excedrin, and yes elevate BP can be another cause I believe, I only say this because my BP ran high for several years (and taking medication) I am on Verapamil for BP- doc says it also helps with migraines. But BP had contiuned to be high 140-150 over 90-100 generally, it is not until this past year losing 70 lbs, mild exercise and eating better that finally my BP has gone down quite a bit. And my HA's are less frequent . --I am 44 yrs old. I would suggest maybe Fioricet if doc would presc. but you are prob getting rebound HA's. I too have bad sinus problems and allergies, I use Astelin but have also - started using a - Neti pot. It looks like a little teapot and you fill it with warm water and small ammt of salt. It flushes out the sinuses in a natural way. You can find the online or some health food stores sometimes carry them. Best of Luck!

Please both of you keep us posted.....

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/29/2007 1:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Hedake for the info.

I'll be going through a sinus operation in two weeks to clean out the infected tissue. Maybe that will help.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks again.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/15/2007 10:15 AM (GMT -6)   
I, too, think I'm way overusing Excedrin, but it's not because I want to! I've had CDH/continual migraine for a year now, and nothing seems to be helping. Triptans do NOT help me. Caffergot eases during an extreme blowout. But when I feel a headache coming on, I reach for the migraine. I keep a migraine diary, and it's awful, but I take at least 2 Excedrin Migraine per day, for months. The problem is, my neurologist moved over an hour away. The neuro that he referred me to said that she doesn't deal with migraines and doesn't know "why he pawned all his patients off" on her, and referred me to another neuro, who I don't see for another 1 1/2 months. I really don't know what to do anymore. I'm on 150mg Topamax/day. I've tried Midrin, triptans, ergotamines... I feel so helpless. There are no headache specialist centers around me.
Anyone have any suggestions? Feeling pretty desperate.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/14/2007 1:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi ALL - I agree with Hedake...Try the neti pot. I found one online and I've been using it for 2 weeks. Let me tell you , my wife doesnt complain about my snoring anymore for one. And my headaches, although usually minor, have subsided. Doesnt hurt to try I guess.

p.s. and yes way to much Excederin. I had an issue a while back with Advil and it was pretty scary.
You can buy a neti pot here:

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 12/18/2007 11:04 AM (GMT -6)   

I agree with both hedake and steve...way too much excedrin.  You may actually be causing rebound headaches (headaches caused by the overuse of medication) by taking so much excedrin.  This creates a horrible take excedrin for the headache/migraine, it kills the pain, but later causes another headache/migraine to occur, so you take more excedrin for the headache/ can see how this continues to spiral endlessly. Also, if you are taking that much excedrin you are ingesting larger amounts of caffeine (plus any caffeine you regularly consume), which is another common trigger for migraines. 

USBP- In your post it doesn't say if you also take OTC sinus medication (in addition to excedrin) to relieve some of the sinus pain.  If you do, beware b/c sinus medication can also cause rebound headaches. If the neti pot has worked for some, it seems worth the try...I think I have seen it at my local health food store, so you may want to give them a call and see if they stock it.

Santos- How long have you been on topamax? Does it seem to be helping at all? The new neuro that you have an appointment with in 1 1/2 months...did you explain to the office staff what is going on to see if they can get you in any sooner or put you on a cancellation list (call you when someone cancels their appt)? I can relate to your frustration...I had continual migraine for 1 1/2 was a  nightmare. Could you call the closest headache specialist clinic that is closest to you, and explain what is going on and see if they would be willing to consult with you periodically? You would still go to the new neuro, the neuro could send notes on your appointments to the headache specialist, and periodically they could consult? I don't know if this is possible...just an "outside of the box" suggestion.  I would also recommend reading "Gotta Headache?" by Dr. Carol Foster.  You can buy a copy of the book on her website  There is a lot of great information about migraines, and some ways to change your lifestyle to avoid migraines. 

I'm sending healthy, healing thoughts to both of you!


New Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/23/2010 8:06 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm just replying to this older thread in case anyone else is dealing with this same issue. Currently, I'm on a vicious cycle of taking way too much excedrin, per dose and per day, to alleviate these dull but constant headaches. I know it's not doing me any good to take this much, but Excedrin (or the generic) has always been the best cure. Well, once Alka-Seltzer with the same ingredients did the job, but hemorrhaging in the brain pulled that product off the shelf. Anyway, I also find myself taking a sleeping pill along with the Excedrin to put me in a trance-like state too. It calms me down and helps reduce the headache pressure.

I know this can't be good. I'm most likely experiencing rebound headaches. So last fall I went to a neurologist, who pretty much said it's awful to take this much Excedrin, and he prescribed Nortriptyline, a generic for Pamelor. It's actually an anti-depressant, but it's a lower dose. The main purpose was to ween me off of Excedrin. In addition, I saw my main doctor and he prescribed a blood-pressure medication to reduce it from the high levels of 140/100. The results were this: I found that the anti-depressant DID help reduce the headaches. I still occasionally took Excedrin, but not in the same quantities. However, because I found my mood to be a little more snappy and sporadic, I stopped taking it. Plus, I stopped the bp medicine just because the doctor wanted me to go back and get another blood test, which I HATE having done.

So in the end, I'm only listing this as a suggestion. It did seem to help although through my own negligence and self-diagnosis, I stopped it. I believe I will once again go this route as my headaches have cranked up again and I can't seem to get through one week without one of these dull headaches finding it's way back in.
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