Medication Overuse Headache Linked to Stress, Lifestyle Factors


Patients with medication overuse headache (MOH) may benefit from stress reduction and healthy changes to their lifestyle, according to a new study from Denmark.

“High stress plus smoking, low physical activity, or obesity has synergistic effects in MOH. So, stress reduction is highly relevant in MOH management,” said Rigmor H. Jensen, MD, in Neurology Reviews. Dr. Jensen is a Professor of Neurology and Director of the Danish Headache Center at the University of Copenhagen; she presented the study in May at the International Headache Congress in Valencia, Spain. Continue Reading

Reader’s Mail: Side Effects for Cutting Back on Fioricet?

Q. I have been on Fioricet for 2 years. I had been taking 6 tablets a day. My physician recommended that I cut back, due to rebound headache, every 4 days. I have now cut back to 3 tablets, and I’m experiencing extreme drowsiness and agitation.  I was told it’s not a side effect. Do you have any recommendations for alternative medication(s) that I can try? Also, I would like to know if you’ve ever heard of anyone else experiencing these types of side effects. Continue Reading

Painkillers and Headache: Britain Issues a Word of Caution

Health care professionals have known for decades that patients with headache disorders may make their headaches worse by overusing painkilling medication.

In the United States, experts believe 30 to 80% of patients new to headache clinics suffer from medication overuse headaches, and in Britain, authorities believe more than one million people experience such headaches frequently. Last month, Britain’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) provided new guidelines for physicians and other health care professionals there regarding this matter. Continue Reading

Sleep Disorders Impact Migraine and Chronic Headache

People with chronic headache have a high prevalence of insomnia and other sleep disorders, such as daytime sleepiness and snoring, according to a study published in the journal Headache. The incidence of insomnia is so high—almost 68% as compared to 39% of people with occasional headaches—that it may even be a risk factor for developing chronic headache. Meanwhile, a separate study, presented at the American Headache Society meeting, has uncovered a possible biological reason for the link. Continue Reading

Headache Treatment Is Up, But Not with Best Medicines

While more people are being treated for migraine and severe headaches than ever before, many of them are not getting appropriate medications for their condition. According to a study that assessed trends in prescribing medications, more opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants and barbiturates are used than in the past even though more migraine-specific medications are now available. Opioids and barbiturates particularly raise concerns because they’re linked to an increased risk of chronic daily headache. Continue Reading