Medication Overuse Headaches
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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.