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Sociodemographic differences in medication use, health-care contacts and sickness absence among individuals with medication-overuse headache

Journal article
Authors Pernilla Jonsson
Mattias Linde
Gunnel Hensing
Tove Hedenrud
Published in Journal of Headache and Pain
Volume 13
Issue 4
Pages 281-290
ISSN 1129-2369
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 281-290
Language en
Keywords Headache, Medication-overuse headache, Epidemiology, Educational status, Medication use, Health-care contacts, quality-of-life, chronic migraine, population, epidemiology, prevalence, behavior, drug, chronicity, validity, burden
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


The objective of this study was to analyse sociodemographic differences in medication use, health-care contacts and sickness absence among individuals with medication-overuse headache (MOH). A cross-sectional, population survey was conducted, in which 44,300 Swedes (a parts per thousand yen15 years old) were interviewed over telephone. In total, 799 individuals had MOH. Of these, 47 % ( = 370) only used over-the-counter medications. During the last year, 46 % ( = 343) had made a headache-related visit to their physician and 14 % ( = 102) had visited a neurologist. Among individuals aged < 30 years, the number of days/month with headache was greater than the number of days with medication use, whereas the opposite was true for those a parts per thousand yen30 years. Both the proportion using prophylactic medication and the proportion having consulted a neurologist were smaller among those who only had elementary school education than among those with higher education ( = 0.021 and = 0.046). Those with a lower level of education also had a higher number of days/month with headache and with medication use than those with a higher educational level ( = 0.011 and = 0.018). The MOH-sufferers have limited contacts with health-care and preventive measures thus need to include other actors as well. Particular efforts should be directed towards those with low educational levels, and more research on medication use in relation to age is required.

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