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How long does it take for Excedrin Migraine to work?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on May 9, 2023.

Official answer


Key Points

  • Excedrin Migraine can work as quickly as 30 minutes to relieve your migraine pain.
  • In clinical studies, patients with moderate to severe migraines experienced pain relief with one dose and it lasted up to 6 hours.
  • Excedrin Migraine is taken as soon as your migraine headache begins. It is not used to prevent migraine headaches.

What's in Excedrin Headache?

Each caplet or geltab of Excedrin Migraine contains 65 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, 250 mg of acetaminophen, and 250 mg of aspirin. Caffeine increases the effects of pain medicines like aspirin and acetaminophen and can make these medicines more effective.

  • The regular dosage for adults is 2 caplets or geltabs with a full glass of water.
  • Do not take more than two caplets or geltabs in any 24-hour period, unless directed by your doctor.
  • If symptoms worsen or persist, contact your doctor.
  • If you are under 18 years of age, ask a doctor before use.

The recommended dose of Excedrin Migraine contains roughly as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Limit caffeine-containing medications, foods, or beverages while using Excedrin Migraine. Excessive caffeine can cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, and rapid heart beat.

If you have migraine headaches that are not responding to any over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, contact your doctor for further evaluation. There are many prescription treatments available for migraine that may be helpful for you.

Over-the-counter generic and store-brands of Excedrin Migraine are available in the US.

Related: Review of Migraine Treatment

How long does Excedrin Migraine last?

In three placebo-controlled studies, an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination (equivalent to Excedrin Migraine) was shown to last up to 6 hours when taken to relieve migraine headache pain.

Significant pain relief rated as mild or none began in 30 minutes in the group receiving the acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination compared to placebo in a pooled analysis of all three studies.

  • Two hours after taking the dose, the pain intensity was reduced to mild or none in 59.3% of 602 patients in the drug-treated group compared to 32.8% of 618 patients in the placebo group.
  • At six hours after taking the dose, 79% of those taking the active drug and 52% of placebo-treated patients rated pain as mild or none. Also, at six hours after the dose, 50.8% of drug-treated patients and 23.5% of placebo-treated patients reported being pain-free.
  • At all time points, results were found to be statistically significant when compared to placebo.

Other migraine headache symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and inability to carry out usual daily activities (functional disability), were also significantly improved 2 to 6 hours after treatment with the acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination, when compared with a placebo.

Read More: Side effects and warnings for Excedrin Migraine

This is not all the information you need to know about Excedrin Migraine for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full Excedrin Migraine information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

  • Lipton RB, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Caffeine in Alleviating Migraine Headache Pain Three Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trials. Arch Neurol. 1998; 55:210-217. doi:10.1001/archneur.55.2.210
  • Excedrin Migraine Medication. GlaxoSmithkline Consumer.
  • Excedrin Migraine (monograph).
  • Excedrin Migraine Drug Facts. GlaxoSmithkline Consumer.

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