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The fixed combination of acetylsalicylic acid, paracetamol and caffeine is more effective than single substances and dual combination for the treatment of headache: a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, single-dose, placebo-controlled parallel group study


Hans-Christoph Diener MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, University Essen, Hufelandstr 55, 45122 Essen, Germany. E-mail


We investigated efficacy, safety, and tolerability of two tablets of the fixed combination of 250 mg acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) + 200 mg paracetamol + 50 mg caffeine (Thomapyrin®) in comparison with two tablets of 250 mg ASA + 200 mg paracetamol, two tablets of 500 mg ASA, two tablets of 500 mg paracetamol, two tablets of 50 mg caffeine, and placebo in patients who were used to treating their episodic tension-type headache or migraine attacks with non-prescription analgesics. For the primary endpoint ‘time to 50% pain relief’ in the intention-to-treat dataset (n = 1743 patients), the fixed combination of ASA, paracetamol and caffeine was statistically significantly superior to the combination without caffeine (P = 0.0181), the mono-substances ASA (P = 0.0398), paracetamol (P = 0.0016), caffeine (P < 0.0001) and placebo (P < 0.0001). All active treatments except caffeine differed significantly (P < 0.0001) from placebo. The superior efficacy of the triple combination could also be shown for all secondary endpoints such as time until reduction of pain intensity to 10 mm, weighted sum of pain intensity difference (%SPIDweighted), extent of impairment of daily activities, global assessment of efficacy. All treatments were well tolerated. The incidence of adverse events observed was low.

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