Medication overuse headache: a focus on analgesics, ergot alkaloids and triptans.

Department of Neurology, University Hospital Essen, Germany.
Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.62). 02/2001; 24(12):921-7.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Medication overuse headache (MOH, formerly known as drug-induced headache) is a well known disorder following the frequent use of analgesics or any other antiheadache drug including serotonin 5-HT(1B/D) agonists (triptans). Recent studies suggest clinical features of MOH depend on the substance class that has been overused. The delay between the frequent intake of any antiheadache drug and daily headache is shortest for triptans (mean 1.7 years), longer for ergot alkaloids (mean 2.7 years) and longest for analgesics (mean 4.9 years). Treatment includes withdrawal followed by structured acute therapy and initiation of specific prophylactic treatment for the underlying primary headache. The relapse rate within 6 months after successful withdrawal is about 30% and increases steadily up to 50% after 5 years.


Available from: Volker Limmroth, Jun 29, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Medication overuse headache (MOH) is a subset of chronic daily headache, occurring from overuse of 1 or more classes of migraine abortive medication. Acetaminophen, combination analgesics (caffeine combinations), opioids, barbiturates (butalbital), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and triptans are the main classes of drugs implicated in the genesis of MOH. Migraine seems to be the most common diagnosis leading to MOH. The development of MOH is associated with both frequency of use of medication and behavioral predispositions. MOH is not a unitary concept. The distinction between simple (type 1) vs complex (type 2) forms is based on both the class of overused medication and behavioral factors, including psychopathology and psychological drug dependence. MOH is a challenging disorder causing decline in the quality of life and causing physical symptoms, such as daily and incapacitating headaches, insomnia, and non-restorative sleep, as well as psychological distress and reduced functioning. MOH is associated with biochemical, structural, and functional brain changes. Relapse after detoxification is a challenge, but can be addressed if the patient is followed over a prolonged period of time with a combination of prophylactic pharmacotherapy, use of abortive medication with minimal risk of MOH, withholding previously overused medication, and providing psychological (cognitive-behavioral) therapy.
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