Medication-overuse headache. Retrospective comparison of preventive treatments

ABSTRACT Objectives: Medication-overuse headache is commonly seen in tertiary centers. Limited evidence is available regarding treatment. We compared the use of one or two drugs, three drugs, or four pharmacological agents for the prevention of headache. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of 149 consecutive patients. Sudden withdrawal and pharmacological prevention with one or more drugs were carried out. Adherence and the decrease of headache frequency of more than 50% were compared after four months between the one or two, three, and four drug groups. Results: There was no difference in adherence (p > 0.6). Headache frequency reduction was shown in 23 (54.8%, one or two drugs), 33 (70%, three drugs) and 11 (55%, four drugs); p = 0.13 and p = 0.98, not significant. There was a tendency towards significance between the one or two drug takers versus the three drug and four drug takers together (p = 0.09). Conclusions: The use of more drugs was not better at improving headache. However, there is the possibility that acting simultaneously on different sites may promote broader modulation and better outcome.