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Symptomatic treatment of chronically recurring tension headache: a placebo-controlled, multicenter investigation of Fioricet and acetaminophen with codeine.

Author(s): Friedman AP, DiSerio FJ

Affiliation(s): Neurological Associates of Tucson, Tucson Medical Park, Arizona.

Publication date & source: 1987, Clin Ther., 10(1):69-81.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

A double-blind, randomized, multicenter investigation was conducted to compare the efficacy and safety of Fioricet, acetaminophen with codeine, and placebo for the symptomatic treatment of tension headache. At the onset of a typical headache, the patients took two capsules of their assigned study medication and rated responses over the next four hours in three target symptoms areas: pain, emotional or psychic tension, and muscle contractions or stiffness in the head and neck. Physicians made global assessments of the same symptom responses and of adverse reactions for each patient. One hundred ninety-eight patients were evaluated. Both active analgesic preparations were more effective than placebo in relieving pain and muscle stiffness or contractions. Fioricet, but not acetaminophen with codeine, was significantly better than placebo in alleviating emotional or psychic tension; Fioricet was also significantly better than acetaminophen with codeine in relieving this symptom. Certain analyses suggested the possibility that Fioricet had a faster and more sustained analgesic effect than acetaminophen with codeine. By the end of the four-hour trial, significantly more patients achieved complete pain relief with Fioricet than with acetaminophen with codeine. The quality and quantity of adverse reactions did not differ significantly among the treatment groups. None was serious, and all abated without medical intervention.

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