Dosing Differences in OTC Migraine Meds

by Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert Health Professional & Patient Advocate

Full Question:

Please explain the difference in the dosing for Excedrin Migraine and Extra Strength Excedrin. BC.


Dear BC,

In order for the manufacturers of Excedrin to market their product for Migraine, both the product and the labeling had to be approved by the FDA. During that approval process, it was determined that the product would be relabeled as Excedrin Migraine and that the labeling would be different because the treatment of Migraine attacks is different from treating a "regular" headache for which people might take Extra Strength Excedrin.

The recommended dosing for Excedrin Extra Strength is:

"adults and children 12 years and over: take 2 caplets every 6 hours; not more than 8 caplets in 24 hours."

The recommended dosing for Excedrin Migraine is:

"adults: take 2 tablets with a glass of water and do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours, unless directed by a doctor."

The dosing for Excedrin Migraine is limited to one dose per 24 hours because if that does hasn't worked, the patient needs to be sure that what they're dealing with is definitely a Migraine, and at that point, even if it is definitely Migraine, they should be seeing or talking with their doctor to get appropriate treatment.

In other words, it is a matter of patient safety.

Good luck,
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

About Ask the Clinician:

Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.

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Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert
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Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert

Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert.