, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 315-322,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Jan 2011

A 4-year follow-up of patients with medication-overuse headache previously included in a randomized multicentre study


The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term outcome in 61 patients with medication-overuse headache (MOH) who 4 years previously had been included in a randomized open-label prospective multicentre study. Sixty patients still alive after 4 years were invited to a follow-up investigation. Fifty patients (83%) participated. Sixteen visited a neurologist, 22 were interviewed through telephone, 2 gave response by a letter, and 10 were evaluated through hospital records. The influence of baseline characteristics on outcome 4 years later was evaluated by non-parametric tests. p values below 0.01 were considered significant. At follow-up, the 50 persons had a mean reduction of 6.5 headache days/month (p < 0.001) and 9.5 acute headache medication days/month (p < 0.001) compared to baseline. Headache index/month was reduced from 449 to 321 (p < 0.001). Sixteen persons (32%) were considered as responders due to a ≥50% reduction in headache frequency from baseline, whereas 17 (34%) persons met the criteria for MOH. None of the baseline characteristics consistently influenced all five outcome measures. Total Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) score at baseline was predictors (p < 0.005) for being a responder after 4 years. At 4 years’ follow-up, one-third of the 50 MOH patients had ≥50% reduction in headache frequency from baseline. A low total HADS score at baseline was associated with the most favorable outcome.