The analgesic effects of caffeine in headache

Pain. 1991 Feb;44(2):151-155. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(91)90129-L.


Caffeine is frequently added to mild analgesic preparations but its effect when used alone on pain has never been studied in humans. Using a double-blind placebo-controlled multiple crossover design, 53 patients with non-migrainous headaches were given placebo, acetaminophen, 2 doses of caffeine and 2 combinations of caffeine with acetaminophen. Caffeine appeared to have independent analgesic effects that were equivalent to acetaminophen and were still significant when statistical adjustments were made for prior caffeine consumption and caffeine's effects on mood.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / therapeutic use
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Caffeine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Headache / drug therapy*
  • Headache / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement


  • Drug Combinations
  • Acetaminophen
  • Caffeine