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A CARE pathway in medication–overuse headache: the experience of the Headache Centre in Pavia


Medication–overuse headache (MOH) is one of the headache forms that most frequently prompts patients to consult a specialist headache centre. The prevaence of this form in the general population is approximately 1–2%. Around 40% of patients seen at headache centres present with a chronic form of headache and 80% of this chronic headache patients make excessive use of symptomatic drugs. MOH shows a clinical improvement, accompained by a reduction in the consumption of analgesic drugs, if patients are submitted to detoxification therapy. But detoxification is only the first stage in a long and complex course of care and global approach demands adequate follow–up visit to prevent early relapses. At the Headache Centre of the C. Mondino Institute of Neurologt in Pavia, a course of care (CARE) has been developed for the complente management of patients with MOH both during Hospitalization and durimg the subsequent follow–up period. CARE IS designed to trace the clinical, psychopathological and pharmacological profile of MOH in the short–, medium– and long–term; to look for factors possibility predictive of relapse; to assess the direct costs linked to overuse–headache in the year leading up to and following detoxification; and to evaluate disability, in terms of working days lost, before and after detoxification.

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Correspondence to G. Sances.

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Sances, G., Ghiotto, N., Loi, M. et al. A CARE pathway in medication–overuse headache: the experience of the Headache Centre in Pavia. J Headache Pain 6, 307–309 (2005).

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Key words

  • Medication–overuse headache
  • Care pathway
  • Management