Recommendation ID
Pharmacological treatments for headache prophylaxis to aid withdrawal treatment in medication overuse
headache:- Does a course of steroid treatment or pharmacological treatments used for headache prophylaxis help people with medication overuse headaches withdraw from medication?
Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)
Why this is important:- Medication overuse headache is a common disorder. Current best advice is for abrupt withdrawal without any supportive pharmacological treatment. Many people with medication overuse headache find it difficult to withdraw abruptly because in the short term their headaches can become much worse. The use of steroids may aid withdrawal and for those who have an underlying headache disorder such as migraine or tension-type headache, appropriate prophylaxis may assist in treating the headache. Double-blind RCTs are needed in people with suspected medication overuse headache who have an identifiable primary headache disorder. There should be two separate trials, one to investigate withdrawal of medication with placebo versus withdrawal of medication with steroid treatment, and the other to investigate withdrawal of medication with placebo versus withdrawal of medication with appropriate pharmacological prophylaxis. Outcomes should include change in acute medication use, proportion of patients who no longer have suspected medication overuse headache, change in patient-reported headache days and headache-specific quality of life.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Headaches in over 12s: diagnosis and management
Date issued
September 2012

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 02/10/2012