Medication-Overuse Headache

Brain diseases pills

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Medication Overuse? 

Every medication has its own threshold. When a person has an intake of any acute medication more than the threshold limit, it is referred to as the Medication Overuse.

Different medications have different threshold limit, for example, usage of 3 triptans, alkaloids, combination analgesics or opioids for 10 or more days in a month is referred to as Medication Overuse. Intake of certain simple analgesics, even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for more than 15 days per month is called medication overuse.

What is the Medication Overuse Headache?

The overuse of medications leads to a persisting chronic headache in some individuals. This is known as the Medication Overuse Headache(MOH). Intake of any medications more than the threshold limit might lead to a chronic headache or migraine. Especially the people who are more prone to getting headaches, suffer from MOH(Medications Overuse Headache) very easily.

In the case of the usage of the certain classes of acute medications such as barbiturate-containing analgesics and butalbital, aspirin and caffeine the risk of the chronic migraine increases. 

What are the causes of the Medication Overuse Headache?

The Medication Overuse Headache mainly depends on the type of medication being used. Acute medications always have high chances of leading to Medication Overuse Headaches(MOH). Some of the most common medications which can cause the Medication Overuse headache are:

  • Simple pain relievers: When the intake of the simple pain relievers such as the aspirin and the acetaminophen(Tylenol, etc) exceeds the recommended daily dosage, it can lead to Medicine Overuse Headache(MOH).
  • Migraine Medications:The medications for migraine like triptans (Imitrex, Zomig, others) and certain ergots — such as ergotamine (Ergomar, others), can lead to the Medication Overuse Headaches if used more than the threshold point.
  • Opiates:The painkillers which are derived from the opium or synthetic opium compounds are generally a combination of codeine and acetaminophen(Tylenol with Codeine No. 3 and No. 4). These medications when overused can lead to a persisting migraine or a chronic headache which is known as the Medication Overuse Headache(MOH).
  • A daily dosage of caffeine from coffee, soda, coke, pain killers, etc also acts as a mild stimulant for the Medicine Overuse Headache.

What are the symptoms of the Medication Overuse Headache?

There are various symptoms which are associated with the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache). The most common symptoms related to it are as follows:

  • Persisting and recurrent headaches almost every day.
  • Nausea and irritability
  • Restlessness and fatigue 
  • Difficulty in concentrating or loss of concentration
  • Memory problems such as forgetting things often
  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Sudden and severe headache accompanied by fever, stiff neck, rashes etc
  • Double vision
  • Transient Ischemic Attack headachePersisting weakness and tiredness 
  • Numbness 
  • Difficulty in speaking 
  • Irregular heartbeat; especially increased rate of the heart.
  • Seizures 
  • Loss of consciousness or frequent fainting
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness and frequent vomiting 

When should I go for a MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) Diagnosis?

You should consider consulting your doctor in the following conditions:
– When you are experiencing more than two chronic headaches a week.

– If you have to take pain relievers for more than twice a week, you should consider consulting a doctor.

– If your headache pattern changes, it is definitely suggested t consult it with your heathcare practitioner.
 

How is the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) diagnosed?

The MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) is diagnosed using various neurological and physical procedures. The neurological procedures focus more on finding the diseases of the brain and nerves which can also lead to severe headaches and migraine. Whereas in the physical tests, the doctor diagnoses the causes via determining the signs and the symptoms of the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache). Some of the most common tests used for the diagnosis of MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) are:

Blood test: A blood test is used for the diagnosis of various health conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, infections etc which can cause a headache.
 
Urine analysis: Several health conditions like various infections, diabetes etc can be determined by using urine analysis procedure. There are various health conditions which can lead to chronic headaches. The urine analysis like the blood test helps in ruling out the causes for the headache.
 
CT Scan: Computer Tomography(CT) Scan is a method used in which a computerized image of the cross-section of the body is produced by using X-rays and a computer. If you are getting daily headaches, this method is used for ruling out other health conditions which can lead to a persisting and chronic headache.
 
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging is the method that is used for producing clear pictures or images of the brain without any usage of the X-rays. A large magnet and  Radiofrequency(RF) is used for producing a clear image on the computer. If you are getting almost daily or daily headaches, MRI is recommended highly.
 
Sinus X-Ray: If your symptoms indicate problems related to the sinus, then the doctor might recommend you to undergo the Sinus X-Ray test.
 
EEG : Electroencephalogram is mainly used as a test method if an individual is experiencing multiple seizures.
 
Eye test : You can consult an ophthalmologist and get your eye check-up done since an abnormality in the eye pressure can lead to a persisting headache. It also helps in ruling out glaucoma.
 
Spinal Tap: This is the procedure used for the collection of the CSF(Cerebrospinal Fluid) from the lower back. This procedure helps in determining various infections of the brain or the spinal cord.
 

What are the treatments available for the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache)?

temporal arteritis headacheThe treatments for the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) are  elaborated below:

  • Breaking The Cycle of the medications

The first step towards curing the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) is to break the cycle of the intake of the mediations which had been causing the headache. At first, there will be various withdrawal symptoms before it gets better. The most common withdrawal symptoms are as follows:

  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Nauseatic feeling
  • Often feeling like vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia 
  • Nervousness 
  • Sweating of palms and feet

The withdrawal symptoms stay for almost 8 to 10 days generally but they can exist for a few weeks as well.

  • Hospitalization

You might have to get hospitalized for a couple of days if you have the following conditions:

  • If you are going through depression and anxiety, a few days of hospitalization is recommended.
  • In the case of the high dosage intake of the drugs containing opiates, hospitalization is generally suggested.
  • Usage of abusing substances like tranquillizers, opioids or barbiturates

Preventive medications

There are various preventive medications which can be used for breaking the cycle of the medication overuse which causes the chronic headache.

  • Injections 

The number of headaches experienced per month can also be reduced by using the injection of onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox).

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

This is talk therapy in which an individual learns the ways to cope with your headache. This treatment also helps a person start and follow a healthy lifestyle.

What are the ways of preventing the MOH(Medication Overuse  Headache)?

Brain diseases pillsThere are several ways of preventing the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache). Some of the most important preventive measures for the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) are:

  • The medications for the headaches should be taken on time as prescribed.
  • Medications containing butalbital or opioids should be avoided.
  • OTC(Over The Counter) medications or painkillers should be taken lesser than 15 days a month.
  • The usage or the consumption of the triptans or the combination of analgesics should be limited.

Facts

 

  • It is a chronic daily headache and a secondary disorder which is caused by the overuse of acute medications.
  • The headache prone people have more chances of suffering from MOH(Medication Overuse Headache).

 

 

Facts

 

  • Using more than two or three analgesics per week can cause a chronic daily headache.
  • The people with primary headache disorders like migraine, cluster or tension-type headache are more prone to MOH(Medication Overuse Headache) when they are introduced to non-specific medications.

 

 

Facts

 

  • Certain classes of medications such as opioids, barbiturate-containing analgesics and butalbital, aspirin and caffeine increase the risk of chronic migraine.

 

 

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Stop the medications immediately which are causing the MOH(Medication Overuse Headache).
  • OTC(Over the Counter) medicines should be consumed in a very regulated manner.
Don'ts
  • Don’t intake and Butalbitals and Opioids. 
  • Usage of triptans and combinations of analgesics should not be taken by the individuals who have a tendency

 

 

 

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Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
chloride test
Chloride Test A chloride test of the blood checks the level of chloride in body, an important factor governing the…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
sodium blood test
Blood Sodium Test A blood sodium test measures the amount of sodium (an important electrolyte) in your body. It is also…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
ANTIPHOSPHOLIPIDANTIBODY(APL)_IgG
Antiphospholipid (APL) antibody-IgG The Antiphospholipid Antibody testing is a blood test used to determine an autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome linked…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…