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Urgent need for research into the best treatment for medication overuse headaches
Date:11/3/2008

gests that the traditional approach of not providing new treatment strategies until patients have been through detoxification may not be the best clinical option.

"Data from recent trials indicate that treatments developed to prevent migraine may prove effective if they are used in patients with MOH before the overused medicine is withdrawn" says Professor Dodick.

"This points to the need for clinical trials to re-evaluate current strategies and find the best way forward."

The international papers that accompany Dr Dodick's overview show that MOH is a common problem, but the incidence, causes and treatment vary from country to country.

  • Just under a quarter of the MOH cases seen at Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan are caused by people overusing cold cure preparations. Dr Shuu-Jiun Wang points out that 100 brands are currently available in Taiwan and he and his colleagues frequently see patients who have taken the whole 60ml bottle rather than the 10ml recommended dose. The problem is more common in people with lower education levels. Other common causes of MOH, which affect one in 100 Taiwanese people, include analgesics, with or without caffeine.

  • Dr Zaza Katsarava from the University of Essen in Germany reports that new rules that enable healthcare plans to sign contracts with headache centres to provide day care centre withdrawal programmes have reduced MOH relapse rates in the country. He says that studies lasting from three to five years have indicated that relapse rates range from 34 to 48 per cent.

  • Medication overuse is a major clinical problem and a significant source of headache-related disability in Canada, according to Professor Werner J Becker from the University of Calgary. He believes that it will take a concerted effort by the public, health professionals and healthcare funders to provide better prevention and treatment for MOH. But he points out: "It can at times be d
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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