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Hangover headache. Prevalence: Vågå study of headache epidemiology


In Vågå, Norway, with 3907 inhabitants, there were 2075 18–65-year-old dalesmen available for the headache epidemiology study. A total of 1838 dalesmen (88.6%) were personally examined. However, due to uncertainty whether hangover headache could be incorporated, this part of the study was started at no. 500. Of the remaining 1338 dalesmen, 1122, i. e., 83.9%, were questioned about hangover headache. The parochial “drinking culture” could probably best be characterised as binge drinking and not as a constant, daily consumption. Inclusion criteria were: intoxication by alcohol; headache; and the headache manifesting itself more than three hours after the end of drinking. In the whole series, 714 dalesmen had experienced hangover headache (“delayed alcohol-induced headache”) during their lifetime (64%). This may be the best way to express hangover headache prevalence. Among those who had been “exposed to proper amounts of alcohol”, the prevalence was considerably higher: 88%. With the existing drinking pattern, hangover headache clearly dominated in males (M/F ratio: 1.50 vs. 0.72 in those without hangover headache (p<0.0005)). Consistency tests showed high Kappa values.

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Correspondence to Ottar Sjaastad.

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Sjaastad, O., Bakketeig, L.S. Hangover headache. Prevalence: Vågå study of headache epidemiology. J Headache Pain 5, 181–187 (2004).

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Key words

  • Headache
  • Headache epidemiology
  • Hangover headache
  • Alcohol