Medication-overuse headache

Pract Neurol. 2019 Oct;19(5):399-403. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2018-002048. Epub 2019 Jul 4.


Medication-overuse headache is defined as headache occurring on more than 15days in a month in people with pre-existing primary headache, and developing as a consequence of regular overuse of acute headache treatments. Medication-overuse headache is common in general neurology clinics and can be difficult to manage. Most patients have a background of migraine, which has slowly transformed over months and years from the episodic to chronic form; with this comes an increased use of acute migraine treatment. This paper identifies who is at risk of developing medication-overuse headache, and reviews preventive measures and current treatment strategies.

Keywords: chronic migraine; daily headache; medication-overuse headache; migraine; rebound headache.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Management
  • Drug Utilization
  • Headache Disorders, Secondary* / prevention & control
  • Headache Disorders, Secondary* / therapy
  • Headache* / etiology
  • Headache* / prevention & control
  • Headache* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders* / etiology
  • Migraine Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Migraine Disorders* / therapy