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Medication-overuse headache
  1. Benjamin R Wakerley1,2
  1. 1 Neurology, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester, UK
  2. 2 Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Benjamin R Wakerley, Neurology, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester GL1 3NN, UK; benwakerley{at}


Medication-overuse headache is defined as headache occurring on more than 15days in a month in people with pre-existing primary headache, and developing as a consequence of regular overuse of acute headache treatments. Medication-overuse headache is common in general neurology clinics and can be difficult to manage. Most patients have a background of migraine, which has slowly transformed over months and years from the episodic to chronic form; with this comes an increased use of acute migraine treatment. This paper identifies who is at risk of developing medication-overuse headache, and reviews preventive measures and current treatment strategies.

  • medication-overuse headache
  • daily headache
  • rebound headache
  • migraine
  • chronic migraine

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  • Contributors BRW is the sole author of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed by Richard Stark, Melbourne, Australia.

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