Certain painkillers are associated with chronic migraine

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According to a recent population-based study conducted by Marcelo E. Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and colleagues some painkillers are linked to chronic migraine. According to the study overuse of barbiturate and opiate painkillers doubled the risk that episodic migraine would evolve into chronic migraine with a frequency of 15 days, a month, or more. However, triptans and over-the-counter drugs did not increase the likelihood of migraine. According to Dr. Bigal, the good news is that “…detoxification improves outcomes.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:

Three prior clinical studies had also suggested that opiates and triptans used for nonmigraine purposes, such as for bowel control or cluster headache, made migraine more likely to transform into the chronic form, he said.

And analgesic overuse — which occurs in more than 80% of patients with transformed migraine seen at headache clinics — has also been associated with likelihood that migraine would become chronic.

However, the specific classes of medicine and doses associated with this risk were unknown, Dr. Bigal said.

To get some insight into the issue, he and his colleagues surveyed a nationally representative sample of 120,000 households and found a total of 8,219 individuals who had a migraine in 2005 and completed a follow-up survey one year later.

They then modeled the probability that episodic migraine would transform into chronic migraine from one year to the next based on which and how frequently pain medications were used.

Among the 6,805 respondents who reported migraine on follow-up, 209 (2.5%) had transformed migraine.

Click here to read the entire article from Medpage Today

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