Medication Overuse Headache

Also known as: rebound headache, drug-induced headache, medication misuse headache

What is medication overuse headache?

As the name implies, medication overuse headache is chronic headache disorder that is caused by the regular use or overuse of medications. This type of headache is typically superimposed on another type of primary headache disorder, such as migraine or tension type headache.

What causes medication overuse headache?

Medication overuse headache typically occurs in a patient with a pre-existing headache condition, when acute medications (for example, medications that are intended to be used sporadically to treat a headache) are used too frequently.

What are the symptoms of medication overuse headache?

In order to be classified as medication overuse headache, the headaches must occur for at least 15 days a month for at least 3 months and be accompanied by the overuse of medication. The typical pattern seen is an increase in frequency of the patient's baseline headaches and often a very frequent, sometimes daily, mild low level "background" headache.

What are medication overuse headache care options?

In general, the treatment of a medication overuse headache involves a combination of discontinuing the overused medication and starting an appropriate daily preventive medication, as well as focus on daily lifestyle and behavior modifications.

Reviewed by: Dr. Suzanne Esther Hagler, MD

This page was last updated on: January 28, 2020 09:26 AM