- Over 40% of people with primary headaches and nearly 60% of those with chronic primary headaches take multiple medications.
- The polypharmacy rate is comparable to that of elderly patients and greater than that observed among patients with fibromyalgia.
Why this matters
- Most study participants were young adult women.
- Most of the medications used were for headache pain, rather than for other comorbidities.
- Cross-sectional study of 300 patients (episodic headache, n=181; chronic headache, n=119) with headache.
- Funding: None.
- Overall, the average number of medications taken by patients was 4.37±2.46.
- Polypharmacy was seen in 40.7% of patients, and the prevalence of polypharmacy was doubled (65%) in patients with chronic headache vs those with episodic headache (P<.0001>
- Polypharmacy rate among patients with chronic headache was equivalent to that among elderly patients (30%-40%) and higher in patients with fibromyalgia (40%).
- Number of medications taken for acute treatment was significantly higher in patients with chronic headache (P<.05 vs those with episodic headache.>
- Patients with chronic headache usually had more comorbidities (1 comorbidity, P<.05 comorbidities p than patients with episodic headache.>
- Data for the study were obtained from a secondary analysis.
Co-authored with Anand Ramanathan Pharm D