Medication Overuse Headache (MOH) is a condition characterized by recurrent headaches caused by excessive use of pain-relieving and/or preventive medications leading to a self-perpetuating cycle of increased medication use and worsening headache.
Medication Overuse Headache (MOH) is a condition characterized by recurrent headaches caused by excessive use of pain-relieving and/or preventive medications. This type of headache can be debilitating and can interfere with a person's daily life and quality of life. It is also known as "rebound headache" or "analgesic headache".
MOH typically occurs in individuals who suffer from chronic headache disorders such as migraine or tension-type headache. They use pain-relieving medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen), prescription pain relievers (e.g. codeine, tramadol), and preventive medications (e.g. amitriptyline, propranolol) more frequently than the recommended dose, leading to the development of medication overuse headache.
The exact mechanism by which medication overuse leads to headache is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to changes in the pain pathways in the brain. When pain-relieving and/or preventive medications are taken frequently, the body can develop a tolerance to them, and the headache can become more frequent and intense.
MOH is a self-perpetuating cycle, as the more a person uses pain-relieving medications, the more likely they are to experience headache. This can lead to increased medication use, which can worsen the headache. In some cases, individuals with MOH may even develop a dependence on the pain-relieving medications, making it difficult for them to stop using them.
Diagnosing MOH can be challenging, as it requires a careful review of a person's medication use and headache history. A healthcare provider may also perform a physical examination and perform other diagnostic tests to rule out other potential causes of headache.
Treatment of MOH involves discontinuing or reducing the use of pain-relieving and preventive medications. This can be a difficult and challenging process, as individuals with MOH may have become dependent on the medications and may experience withdrawal symptoms. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to gradually taper off the medications in a safe and controlled manner.
In addition to discontinuing or reducing the use of pain-relieving and preventive medications, individuals with MOH may benefit from other treatments such as physical therapy, relaxation techniques, and behavioral therapy. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, should be used sparingly and only as needed.
In conclusion, medication overuse headache is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person's daily life and quality of life. It is important for individuals with chronic headache disorders to be aware of the potential risks of excessive medication use and to work with their headache Neurologist to manage their symptoms in a safe and effective manner. With appropriate treatment, most individuals with MOH can reduce their headache frequency and severity and improve their quality of life.
If you suffer from headaches or migraines, it's important to get advice from a qualified healthcare professional. The Headache Clinic is a specialised clinic in North Sydney that focuses on the diagnosis and management of headaches and migraines. We also serve patients all across Australia via telehealth.
The Headache Clinic has a team of experienced headache-specialist Neurologists who can provide expert guidance on the best treatment options for your individual needs. We understand that headaches and migraines can be really bad and we prioritise urgent appointments for those in need. We offer appointments within 1 week of booking, so you can get the care you need as soon as possible.
To book an appointment with one of our headache-specialist Neurologists, you can call (02) 9745 9852 or book online through our website. Our clinic is conveniently located in Sydney and offers a comfortable and welcoming environment for patients. Don't let headaches or migraines control your life – contact The Headache Clinic today to start feeling better.