More than one million people in Britain may be suffering from constant, crippling headaches because they are taking too many painkillers, experts say. The pills people take to relieve headaches and migraines may be making things much worse, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in guidance to the health service for England and Wales.
As many as one in 50 people suffer continual headaches because of “medication overuse”, NICE reports. The problem begins with taking the odd painkiller for tension headaches or migraines, which usually works. But some people take the pills more and more often, until they are on tablets for more than half the days in a month. NICE says that if this goes on for more than three months the medication ends up causing the problem it is intended to cure.