Pick an Excedrin, Any Excedrin

I get migraines that are mild for a migraine (no blindness or flashing lights), but still qualify as pretty bad for a headache. Ten years ago, I tried a few prescription drugs for them, but nothing really did the trick. When I moved back to the US, I made a new best friend:  Excedrin.

excedrin-es-mThey keep coming up with more and more sub-categories of their product, which I find obnoxious – because most of them are exactly the same product. I hate when companies indulge in dumbass marketing techniques and jockey for more shelf space. In any case, I picked up their “new” Menstrual formula express gel tabs at Walgreens this morning in my sweep of the drug stores, and surprise surprise – exactly the same active incredients as Extra Strength Excedrin. And Excedrin Migraine. The formula for Tension Headache is actually different, with 500mg acetaminophen instead of the 50-50 aspirin acetaminophen split in the other two. All have the same amount of caffeine, which is the ingredient that makes all the difference for me. I know, caffeine is a migraine trigger for some people, and then there’s the possibility that the headache is really from caffeine withdrawal — but that wasn’t the case for me. In fact, if a headache ever descends when I don’t have Excedrin on me, I’ll take whatever pain reliever I can get my hands on with a coffee chaser.

I mention all this because sometimes one type goes on sale, but not the type perfectly labelled for your particular headache. It truly doesn’t matter…well, the “PM” versions are different, but that’s about it. There is one thing different about the Menstrual formula label:  while Extra Strength, Migraine and Tension Headache describe caffeine’s function as a “pain reliever aid”, Menstrual describes it as a “diuretic”. Whoopdeedoo. Thanks for the pink box – it clashes with my red Migraine one and makes my green Extra Strength look all 80s-preppie.

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4 Responses

  1. wow thank you! you’re SO educational! i picked up four boxes of the pink stuff last week and promptly gave them away. fortunately i don’t need meds for anything. i’ve got a new deal with a lady at the office. i shop (for free) and she throws money at me. works for both of us! she took two boxes of the pink stuff and two bottles of the Advil PM that I was getting for .49 cents. plus toothpaste, deodorant, sense and sprays (think i cleared out the stock) and cold meds. this is just so addicting. p.s. glad you got that apartment thing figured out. not only must be a relief but so much less stress not having to move!

  2. Thanks for the 411. I’m too lazy to read and compare the active ingredients. My eyes start to glaze over when most ingredients are 3 syllables or more.

  3. Wow, justpassingthrough – you’ve got your very own Gray Market micro-economy!

    Shtinkykat – I know, but “acetaminophen” is the generic word for Tylenol, and you really have to keep an eye on how much of that you take because it’s in all kinds of cold/cough formulas. Unlike ibuprofen, taking too much tylenol can seriously damage your liver. When I lived in the UK, there was a news story about a woman who had a cold, took a lot of OTC meds that turned out to all contain tylenol/acetaminophen. She basically took a triple dose…and died. So I’m really careful about that one.

  4. this is really excellent info. you oughta have a tv show. maybe you can join whoopi!

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