Current Treatment Options in Neurology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 181-188

First online:

Medication overuse headache

  • William B. YoungAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, The Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Jefferson Headache Center

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Opinion statement

  • •Medication overuse headache is common and affects 2% of the United States population.

  • •Simple analgesics, caffeine-containing analgesics, butalbital-containing analgesics, opioids, ergotamine, and triptans may cause medication overuse headache. The recidivism rate is higher after detoxification from butalbital and opioids than after detoxification from other substances.

  • •Treatment venues have included the patient’s home, an infusion center, or a hospital setting. No consensus exists to determine the setting that is most appropriate.

  • •Patients with analgesic overuse headache have a different psychologic substrate than psychiatric substance abusers. Most should not be treated in psychiatric detoxification facilities, although, psychiatric assessment and support may be beneficial.