Impact of headache on a supplemental healthcare emergency unit and on use of opioids
ABSTRACT Background: Headache is one of the most common causes of emergency care and migraines are the most common primary headache in this regard. Objective: The aim of this research study was to assess the incidence of medical consultations due to headache, along with demographic characteristics and treatments pertaining to cephalalgia that were offered to patients cared for in supplemental healthcare emergency rooms. Methods: In 2017, a total of 11,105 consultations took place, and 4,865 (43.8%) of them were complaints relating to headache. 407 records of patients with headache were randomly selected and assessed. Demographic, clinical and therapeutic data were collected using a structured form. Results: The cause of headache was diagnosed as migraine in 60.0% of the patient records. Patients were mostly female (75.2%), with an average age of 33.9 ± 13.7 years. Patient management consisted of administering dipyrone in 62.4% of cases, antiemetics in 66.9%, corticosteroids in 58.9%, opioids in 24.3% and NSAIDs in 13.5%. Use of opioids was associated with a diagnosis of migraine (OR 2.4; CI 1.4-3.9; p = 0.001). Patients who received opioids were kept under observation for longer periods of time (OR 3.4; CI 2.1-5.4; p < 0.001) and exhibited a higher rate of use of antiemetics (OR 11.0; CI 4.7-25.9; p < 0.001), compared with patients who did not receive opioids. Conclusion: Dipyrone and antiemetics were administered to most of the patients. Opioids were used for a significant proportion of these individuals, despite the diagnosis of migraine, a condition for which their use is discouraged.