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      Successful withdrawal from analgesic abuse in a group of youngsters with chronic daily headache.

      Journal of Child Neurology

      Treatment Outcome, Adolescent, Analgesics, administration & dosage, adverse effects, Child, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Headache Disorders, chemically induced, rehabilitation, Humans, Male, Substance Withdrawal Syndrome, diagnosis, Substance-Related Disorders

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          Abstract

          Abuse of ergotamine and analgesics is common in adults. It coexists with headache and can also induce headaches. Ten to 15% of patients attending headache clinics and 1% of the general population suffer from chronic daily headache due to medication misuse. Indeed, this phenomenon was recently regarded as an epidemic. Nonetheless, analgesic-induced headache in children and adolescents was first reported in 1998. We report on our experience with children and adolescents with daily or almost-daily headache concomitant with daily or almost-daily analgesic intake. Over a period of 3 years, we evaluated 26 children (19 girls and 7 boys) with chronic daily or near-daily headache related to daily analgesic intake. The mean age of the group was 14.2 years (range, 12-18), and the mean headache history duration was 1.6 years (range, 3 months to 4 1/2 years). The mean number of headache days per month was 28.1 (range, 19-31). All patients had no history of migraine prior to the chronic headache phase according to the International Headache Society criteria. They were using at least one dose of analgesic drug for each headache, whereas 16 were using analgesic drugs daily. The weekly analgesic intake averaged 28.1 tablets (range, 19-41). The majority abused simple analgesics. Twenty-one took acetaminophen alone. Five took a combination; four took a compound containing acetaminophen, caffeine, and codeine; and the fifth patient took a compound containing aspirin, caffeine, and codeine. All patients were informed about the phenomenon of medication-induced headache and were encouraged to achieve drug withdrawal. Withdrawal led to complete cessation of all headaches in 20 patients. In 5 patients, the daily headache resolved; however, they suffered from intermittent episodic migraine attacks, which were frequent enough in 3 to initiate prophylactic medication. One adolescent continued to have daily headache. Analgesic-induced headache does occur in adolescents. Successful withdrawal from the offending analgesics was achieved without hospitalization or significant interference with daily life and with complete disappearance of the induced chronic daily headache in 25 of 26 patients.

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