Medication overuse headache: clinical and diagnostic aspects

O.Ye. Dubenko


Medication overuse headache is a secondary form of chronic headache commonly caused by overuse of drugs in patients with primary headache syndromes such as migraine or tension-type headache and improves after discontinuation of the overused preparations. Medication overuse headache is a common condition in a population and is characterized by chronification of headache disorders and behavior dependent on the use of drugs. According to the third edition of the International Classification of the Headache Disorders, medication overuse headache subtypes were revealed depending of drug classes, and diagnostic criteria were defined. Psychiatric comorbidities such as anxiety and depression are frequent in patients with medication overuse headache. Neuroimaging studies identified anatomical and functional changes in brain regions that implicated in pain processing and addictive behavior in such patients. Treatment of medication overuse headache consists in wean of overused acute medication, administration of other drugs to relieve acute pain, specific prophylactic treatment for severe migraine and education of patients to prevent relapses.


medication overuse headache; chronic migraine; brain imaging changes; withdrawal therapy


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