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Epidemiology of medication overuse headache in the general Swedish population

Journal article
Authors Pernilla Jonsson
Tove Hedenrud
Mattias Linde
Published in Cephalalgia
Volume 31
Issue 9
Pages 1015-1022
ISSN 0333-1024
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 1015-1022
Language en
Keywords Chronic daily headache, epidemiology, medication overuse headache, prevalence, socioeconomic status
Subject categories Social and Clinical Pharmacy, Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


Aims: The aim was to estimate the prevalence of medication overuse headache (MOH) in Sweden and to analyze the occurrence of this disorder in different population groups. Methods: A total of 44,300 randomly selected individuals (55% women), aged 15 years and above, were interviewed in a national telephone survey, using a standardized questionnaire including the International Headache Society criteria for MOH and questions about sociodemographic factors, headache history and medication use. Results: In Sweden, 3.2% (95% confidence interval (CI) 3.1–3.4), n¼1428) suffer from chronic daily headache (CDH) and out of those, 56% (n¼799) have MOH. The prevalence of MOH is 1.8% (95% CI 1.7–1.9). The mean age of onset was higher among men than women as well as among those with tension-type headache as primary headache compared to those who originally had migraine. A multivariate analysis showed that socioeconomic factors such as having a low level of education and/or a low household income were associated with MOH. Conclusions: This is the first Swedish population-based study of MOH and we conclude that MOH is a significant public health problem in Sweden, as it is in other parts of the world.

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