Medication Overuse Headaches
Headache Relief in Colorado
Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH)— sometimes referred to as headaches,
drug-induced headaches, and medication misuse headaches— are a type
of chronic headache that occur 15 days or more per month, 4 or more hours
per day, for 3 or more months. These headaches are caused by over consuming
medications intended to treat headaches and can end up being worse than
the headaches the medication was meant to treat.
The general quality of life of MOH patients is worse than patients with
episodic headaches. Most people who suffer from MOH have a history with
migraines and were originally taking the medication to treat migraines.
Your headache may have evolved from a migraine or a similar headache if
you experience the following symptoms:
- You experience headaches at their worse when you wake up in the morning
- Headaches start to return as soon as your medication starts to wear off
- Medication does treat the headache in the short-term
- Headaches occur on a daily basis
- You have other side effects, such as nausea, anxiety, depression, or memory problems
Why They Occur
While the overused pain medication can help in the short-term, as it wears
off the headache grows worse than it was before, prompting the patient
to take higher doses more frequently. This creates a spiraling cycle of
headaches that only gets worse as time goes on. If you find yourself constantly
taking medication for headache relief, you should schedule an appointment
with a headache specialist as soon as possible.
In order to stop MOH, you will need to stop taking your headache medication.
It is dangerous to try and do this without professional medical assistance.
Your body may have developed a dependency on the medication, and withdrawal
symptoms will need to be carefully monitored to ensure you can safely
stop taking the medication cold turkey. At Interventional Headache Center
of Colorado, our treatment will focus on helping you through the withdrawal period.
In most patients, MOH can be treated in the outpatient setting, but for
the most difficult cases, including those with opioid or butalbital overuse,
or in patients with serious medical or behavioral disturbances, effective
treatment requires a multidisciplinary, comprehensive headache program.