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Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2009 Dec;13(6):463-9.

Tension-type headache with medication overuse: pathophysiology and clinical implications.

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Department of Neurology, UCSF Headache Group, 1635 Divisadero Street, Suite 520-530, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


Tension-type headache (TTH) is the most prevalent primary headache disorder. An important factor in the long-term prognosis of TTH is the overuse of acute medications used to treat headache. There are many reasons why patients with TTH overuse acute medications, including biobehavioral influences, dependency, and a lack of patient education. Chronic daily headache occurs in 4.1% of the general population, and chronic tension-type headache and medication overuse headache (MOH) occur in approximately 2.2% and 1.5%, respectively. A proper diagnosis is essential for the treatment of these patients. Treatment should include pathological considerations concerning TTH and MOH, which include peripheral and central mechanisms. Because TTH with MOH carries the worst prognosis, more clinical studies focusing on the complex interaction and treatments of TTH and MOH are needed.

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