Effects of oral caffeine on postdural puncture headache. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Anesth Analg. 1990 Feb;70(2):181-4. doi: 10.1213/00000539-199002000-00009.


Forty postpartum patients with postdural puncture headache (PDPH) were randomly assigned to receive oral caffeine (300 mg) or a placebo. Intensity of headache, quantitated using a visual analogue pain scale (VAS), was assessed immediately before drug administration and 4 and 24 h later. Relief of PDPH measured as delta VAS (initial VAS - VAS at 4 h) was significantly better in the caffeine than in the placebo group (P = 0.014). Six patients (30%) whose PDPH was relieved by caffeine at 4 h had recurrence of symptoms the following day. Our study demonstrates that caffeine administered orally provides relief, albeit if sometimes transient, from PDPH with minimal side effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Benzoates / therapeutic use
  • Benzoic Acid
  • Caffeine / pharmacology
  • Caffeine / therapeutic use*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Headache / drug therapy*
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Spinal Puncture / adverse effects*


  • Benzoates
  • Caffeine
  • Benzoic Acid