Drug Safety

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 921–927

Medication Overuse Headache

A Focus on Analgesics, Ergot Alkaloids and Triptans

Authors

  • Zaza Katsarava
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital Essen, University of Essen
  • Hans-Christoph Diener
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital Essen, University of Essen
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital Essen, University of Essen
Review Article

DOI: 10.2165/00002018-200124120-00005

Cite this article as:
Katsarava, Z., Diener, H. & Limmroth, V. Drug-Safety (2001) 24: 921. doi:10.2165/00002018-200124120-00005

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-HT1B/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.

Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2001