How do I safely use medications to manage symptoms?

How to Use Your Headache Medications Safely:

  • Make sure you tell your doctor about all other medications you take.
  • Be aware of any possible drug interactions.
  • Know what you should avoid while taking the medication.
  • If you experience side effects, talk with your doctor to see if something can be done to reduce them.
  • Be patient – it sometimes takes a period of 4 to 8 weeks to know if a medication is right for you.

To use medications for symptom management safely, you need to take them in the amounts and at the times your doctor instructs. It can be dangerous to take medications in higher doses or to take them more frequently than prescribed. If you find you need to take the medication frequently, consult your doctor. Daily or near-daily use of any kind of medication used to manage your symptoms is not recommended for long-term headache management. Liver or kidney damage, bleeding ulcers, addiction, or rebound headaches may occur.

Use these techniques to safely get the most benefit from your medication:


  • Take your medication in the amounts and at the times prescribed by your doctor.
  • Keep a diary of any headaches and any symptoms you have and any medications you take.
  • Learn the common side effects of the medication you take. When you have those side effects, report them to your doctor.
  • Be willing to try other headache medications your doctor may suggest if the first choice does not work well for you.
  • Make regular appointments with your doctor to discuss how well you are doing on your medications.

Your experience with these medications will be unique to you. Remember, finding the right medication may take time. Work with your healthcare provider to find the one that is right for you.


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