Disability in Chronic Migraine Patients With Medication Overuse: Treatment Effects at 1-Year Follow-up

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Abstract

Objective

To determine (1) the clinical course of a sample of chronic migraine patients with drug overuse 6 and 12 months following in-patient treatment and (2) whether functional impairment, assessed by the Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) questionnaire, improved upon treatment.

Background

Patients with chronic migraine and medication overuse are particularly difficult to treat (prophylactic medications that otherwise are effective become ineffective; discontinuation of the offending medication can lead to withdrawal headache; physical and emotional dependence can be present, as well as increased psychological involvement; initial treatment gains can be difficult to maintain).

Methods

Of the 106 patients meeting criteria for chronic migraine with medication overuse, 84 went on to complete a structured in-patient treatment, consisting of medication withdrawal and then prophylactic treatment.

Results

As a group, the patients were improved at both 6- and 12-month follow-up, with respect to two headache parameters (frequency and medication use) and three measures of functional impact extracted from the MIDAS questionnaire (Total Score, Headache Frequency, and Headache Intensity).

Conclusion

Chronic migraine accompanied with medication overuse led to the considerable disability prior to treatment. However, notable improvement occurred coincident with the treatment. This suggests that successful treatment has more wide-ranging positive benefits beyond mere symptom reduction. To our knowledge, this is the first investigation where the MIDAS questionnaire has been used prospectively as an outcome measure in patients with chronic migraine and medication overuse to assess disability subsequent to a semi-standardized treatment program.

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