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Nosology and treatment of primary headache in a Swiss headache clinic


We assessed demographics, diagnoses, course, severity, impact and treatment of primary headache outpatients from records in the Headache and Pain Clinic, Neurological Department, Zürich University Hospital. All outpatients seen from 1996 to 1998 for migraine, tension–type headache, and both, were included. Diagnoses, drug, physical and alternative treatments before and after referral were listed. Descriptive statistics were used for differences between the general population and this sample, the diagnoses, and treatments. The coexistence of migraine and tension–type headache, and the high frequencies of headache days would have excluded most migraine patients from typical drug trials: at best, only one third were eligible. The socioeconomic impact of combined and difficult syndromes calls for comprehensive management beyond simple treatment with instant relief drugs. The diagnostic and therapeutic practices of referring physicians exposed a deficit of information on headache, and a need for relevant education.

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Correspondence to A. R. Gantenbein*.

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*Both authors contributed equally to this work.

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Kozak*, S., Gantenbein*, A.R., Isler, H. et al. Nosology and treatment of primary headache in a Swiss headache clinic. J Headache Pain 6, 121–127 (2005).

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Key words

  • Primary headache
  • Tertiary care
  • Demographics
  • Epidemiology
  • Drug treatment