Concussion Medication

Updated: Jul 25, 2016
  • Author: David T Bernhardt, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

Overall, no medical therapy is usually prescribed for patients after an acute brain injury. Pain control is usually achieved with over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen. Avoid narcotics so that clouding of the patient's mental status or neurologic examination does not occur.

In a retrospective study of adolescent patients with concussion, researchers found that overuse of analgesics following injury may exacerbate concussion-related headaches or make them chronic. [65]

Of 104 patients in the study, 77 had chronic posttraumatic headache lasting between 3 and 12 months, and 54 of these patients (70.1%) met criteria for probable medication overuse for headache. Patients with medication overuse were significantly more likely to have daily headaches, to have nausea, to have throbbing associated with their headaches, and to be female. Headaches subsided or improved to preconcussive patterns in 37 patients (68.5%) within 2 months of discontinuing analgesics.

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Analgesics

Class Summary

Pain control is essential to quality patient care. Analgesics ensure patient comfort, promote pulmonary toilet, and have sedating properties, which are beneficial for patients who have sustained trauma or those who have sustained injuries.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Aspirin-Free Anacin, Feverall, Q-Pap, Mapap)

Acetaminophen may work peripherally to block pain impulse generation; it may also inhibit prostaglandin synthesis in the CNS.

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