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Aspirin and Coke for Migraine: Is This New Hack Safe?

    Aspirin and Coke for Migraine: Is This New Hack Safe?

    Headaches are just occasional annoyances for some people. However, for others, intense, frequent migraine headaches are a normal part of their day. There are many old and new remedies available to treat this pain, but not all of them work. One popular hack is aspirin and coke for migraine pain, but does it work? And even more importantly: Is it safe?

    About Migraines

    Migraines are often assumed to be “really bad” headaches but they are actually more than that. Medically, a migraine is a neurological disease with characteristic signs and symptoms that differ from other types of headaches. There are four general phases:

    • Prodrome
    • Aura
    • Headache
    • Postdrome.

    The exact cause of migraine is not known, however, there are genetic and environmental factors that contribute to its development.

    Aspirin and Coke for Migraine

    The science behind the myth

    Aspirin is a well-known medication and many people keep it stocked at home. Acetylsalicylic acid is the chemical name of aspirin. It is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which is used to treat mild-to-moderate pain like headache. Because it also has blood-thinning properties, aspirin is often used to prevent strokes and blood clots in certain people.

    For migraines, aspirin may be used to alleviate pain. High doses of 900 mg to 1300 mg at the onset of a migraine attack have been shown to relieve pain and prevent its return for several hours.

    Now, it is established that aspirin alone can help with migraine pain, but what about coke? Coke, cola, or other soft drinks contain caffeine (and plenty of sugar). Because a can of coke and a few aspirin tablets are easily accessible and relatively cheap, it sounds like a win-win situation. Is aspirin and coke for migraine safe? The combination is not as harmless as it sounds.

    Why it is NOT recommended

    Truthfully, there are mixed findings and opinions regarding the use of caffeine to treat headaches. Some studies have shown that caffeine can improve pain relief when combined with NSAIDs (e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin). On the other hand, research and anecdotal evidence show that it can actually trigger headaches.

    While coke and aspirin are generally safe when taken separately, aspirin and coke for migraine is not a great idea.

    Firstly, aspirin is an acidic drug (it is chemically similar to vinegar). Typically, aspirin is enteric-coated to prevent release in the stomach. Secondly, coke and carbonated drinks are also acidic. Taking both of these highly acidic substances together is not recommended, especially for those with GERD, PUD, or hyperacidity.

    This is why most medications should be taken with water only. Additionally, too much intake of caffeine and sugar can lead to symptoms of dependency. Withdrawal and rebound are two reasons why some people feel worse headaches when they skip their morning coffee or try to cut down on caffeine.

    Key Takeaways

    In summary, aspirin and coke for migraine is not the best idea. High-dose aspirin is enough on its own to relieve headaches caused by migraines. The concept of boosting its effectiveness by adding caffeine from drinks has some merit but the combination may do more harm than good in the long run. If you have already tried mixing coke and aspirin once or twice, there is no need to worry but it would be best to stop taking the combination.

    Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing chronic headaches or migraines that get worse despite taking medications.

    Learn more about Headaches and Migraines here.

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    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    Caffeine and Migraine https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/caffeine-and-migraine/ Accessed March 5, 2021

    The Ambiguous Role of Caffeine in Migraine Headache: From Trigger to Treatment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468766/ Accessed March 5, 2021

    Aspirin Effective in Treating Acute Migraine, Preventing Recurrent Migraine, Review Finds https://www.ajmc.com/view/aspirin-effective-in-treating-acute-migraine-preventing-recurrent-migraine-review-finds Accessed March 5, 2021

    Migraine – Causes https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/migraine/causes/ Accessed March 5, 2021

    What Is Migraine? https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-migraine/ Accessed March 5, 2021

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    Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Jun 04, 2021
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