Home-based behavioral treatments for chronic benign headache: a meta-analysis of controlled trials


C. Keith Haddock, 59th Medical WingPSCPB, Wilford Hall Medical Center, 2200 Bergquist Drive, Suite 1, Lackland AFB, Texas 78236-5300, USA. Fax. +1 210 670 5356.


Controlled clinical trials have consistently demonstrated that behavioral treatments for chronic benign headache produce clinically beneficial outcomes both post-treatment and at follow-up. Given these results there is interest in cost-reduction and redesign of these treatments to improve their accessibility. One promising approach in this regard is home-based headache treatment. These treatments seek to provide the same amount of treatment as clinic-based treatments; however, some of the material typically presented to the patient by a clinician is presented through home-study materials (e.g., manuals, audiotapes). To date, the published literature contains 20 controlled clinical trials which have examined the outcomes produced by home-based treatments. This article presents the first comprehensive meta-analysis of these clinical outcome studies. Results of the quantitative analyses suggest that home-based treatments produce comparable, or with certain outcome measures, superior results to clinic-based treatments. Moreover, cost-effectiveness scores of home-based treatments were found to be more than five times larger than those of clinic-based therapies. Methodological analyses are also presented along with suggestions for future research.