Medication-overuse headache: a widely recognized entity amidst ongoing debate

Nicolas Vandenbussche*, Domenico Laterza, Marco Lisicki, Joseph Lloyd, Chiara Lupi, Hannes Tischler, Kati Toom, Fenne Vandervorst, Simone Quintana, Koen Paemeleire, Zaza Katsarava

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Medication overuse in primary headache disorders is a worldwide phenomenon and has a role in the chronification of headache disorders. The burden of disease on individuals and societies is significant due to high costs and comorbidities. In the Third Edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders, medication-overuse headache is recognized as a separate secondary entity next to mostly primary headache disorders, although many clinicians see the disease as a sole complication of primary headache disorders. In this review, we explore the historical background of medication-overuse headache, its epidemiology, phenomenology, pathophysiology and treatment options. The review explores relevant unanswered questions and summarizes the current debates in medication-overuse headache.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Medication-overuse headache
  • Nosology
  • Review


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