Quality statement 2: Preventing medication overuse headache

Quality statement

People with a primary headache disorder are given information on the risk of medication overuse headache.

Rationale

Medication overuse is a cause of secondary headaches in people with a primary headache disorder. Providing information to people with a primary headache disorder about the risk of medication overuse may prevent these secondary headaches.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people with a primary headache disorder are given information on the risk of medication overuse headache.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of people with a primary headache disorder who are given information on the risk of medication overuse headache.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who are given information on the risk of medication overuse headache.

Denominator – the number of people with a primary headache disorder.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

Incidence of medication overuse headache.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare practitioners and commissioners

Service providers ensure that systems are in place for people with a primary headache disorder to be given information on the risk of medication overuse headache.

Healthcare practitioners including pharmacists give people with a primary headache disorder information on the risk of medication overuse headache.

Commissioners ensure that they commission services that give people with a primary headache disorder information on the risk of medication overuse headache.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

People with a headache disorder with no known cause are given information about the risk of too much medication causing more headaches.

Source guidance

  • Headaches (NICE clinical guideline 150), recommendation 1.3.6.

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Primary headache disorders include tension-type headache, migraine and cluster headache.

Medication overuse headaches are headaches associated with taking too much medication. They most commonly occur in people taking medication for a primary headache disorder, especially for tension-type headaches and migraine.

Equality and diversity considerations

All information given about the risk of medication overuse headache should be culturally appropriate and accessible to people with additional needs, such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English. People with a primary headache disorder should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed.

It may be appropriate in some cases, particularly with young people, to provide information to parents and carers as well as the person with the headache disorder.