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Woman with chronic migraines

What Is the Difference Between Episodic vs. Chronic Migraines?

Learn about what our product treats — and what we’re doing to help all migraine sufferers.

Migraines: They’re a debilitating condition affecting 36 million Americans (1). We hear from migraine sufferers every day on social media, and one comment seems to rise to the top: There’s a lack of understanding about this complex condition. We want to help push the conversation — and add what we at Excedrin® understand and communicate about the condition.

At Excedrin®, our goal is to help relieve migraine pain and symptoms. But just as importantly, we are committed to raising understanding and awareness about the true impact of migraines.

First things first: We know that migraines are so much more than “just a headache.” There are different types of migraines, and the intensity of the pain, symptoms, triggers and treatments vary for each sufferer.

So what is a migraine?

Migraines are a recurring condition diagnosed by a doctor or neurologist. Migraine attacks last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours.(2) The pain is usually felt as a pulsing on one side of the head.(2) Migraines also come with other symptoms beyond pain, such as (but not limited to) nausea and/or vomiting, sensitivity to light and/or sensitivity to sound. (2) Some sufferers have migraines with aura, visual disturbances that can manifest as geometric patterns, flashing lights or a shimmering effects. (3)

There are different types of migraines.

The International Classification of Headache Disorders defines episodic migraine as having symptoms between 0 and 14 days per month, while chronic migraine is defined as symptoms on 15 or more days per month for more than 3 months.(2,4) A 2012 study put those who suffer from chronic migraines as 7.68% of the total migraine population.(5) Both types of migraine can be debilitating, but studies have shown that chronic migraine sufferers can have a higher individual and societal burden due to greater impaired quality of life.(4)

Excedrin® Migraine is indicated for episodic migraines.

If you suffer from episodic migraines, your doctor may recommend that you try an over-the-counter migraine treatment with a well-established safety and efficacy profile, such as Excedrin® Migraine, before a prescription drug. 

There is no cure for migraines.

In fact, there’s still a lot to be learned about the condition. Different treatments work for different sufferers — and some sufferers can’t find anything that works..

Excedrin® Migraine won’t work for everyone.

At Excedrin®, our mission is to relieve your migraine pain. We genuinely hope that Excedrin® Migraine will work for you. We are the No. 1 neurologist recommended over-the-counter medicine for migraines*, but we understand that every sufferer’s migraine is different, and treatments vary. If Excedrin® Migraine doesn’t work for you, we hope that you’ve learned something about the condition — and we hope you’re able to work with your doctor or neurologist to find treatment options that will bring you relief. 

We are committed to a deeper understanding of migraines.

Our passion for migraine relief doesn’t end with Excedrin® Migraine. We are taking steps to raise awareness about the condition — because we know that most people don’t understand it. That’s why we created the world’s first migraine simulator. Using augmented reality, we provided non-sufferers the opportunity to understand what their loved ones truly go through by simulating their migraines. To learn more, visit The Migraine Experience.

*Among OTC medicine for migraines. Symphony Health Solutions, 2015


1. American Migraine Foundation, “Migraine – Who Does it Affect?”, last accessed 11/20/15.

2. International Headache Society Classification ICHD-II, “Migraine without aura.” Last accessed 11/20/15.

3. American Headache Society, “Headache Toolbox: Migraine Aura.” © 2009 American Headache Society. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2009.01473.x

4. Defining the Differences Between Episodic Migraine and Chronic Migraine
Zaza Katsarava, Dawn C. Buse, Aubrey N. Manack, Richard B. Lipton
Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2012 February; 16(1): 86–92. Published online 2011 November 15. doi: 10.1007/s11916-011-0233-z

5. Buse DC, Manack AN, Fanning KM, Serrano D, Reed ML, Turkel CC, Lipton RB.
Chronic migraine prevalence, disability, and sociodemographic factors: results
from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study. Headache. 2012
Nov-Dec;52(10):1456-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02223.x. Epub 2012 Jul 25.
PubMed PMID: 22830411.


References: migraine treatmentstypes of headachesmigraine treatments

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