• Analgesic drug use;
  • chronic daily headache;
  • DDI;
  • follow-up

The study aim is to describe the long-term clinical outcome of 102 chronic headache patients with analgesic daily use. They were assessed for daily drug intake (DDI), headache index (HI) and quality of life (QoL) and compared with a parallel group of patients with active chronic daily headache but no analgesic overuse. For the primary study group, baseline 1995 DDI was 1.80 ± 1.87 and did not differ significantly in 1999. Patients who daily continued to use analgesics had a higher 1995 baseline DDI (t = 2.275, P = 0.025), a longer drug abuse history (t = 2.282, P = 0.025) and a higher DDI (t = 4.042, P < 0.001) 4 years later. At 4 years of follow-up, only one-third of patients initially treated for chronic daily headache and analgesic overuse are successful in refraining from chronic overuse. Those subjects appear to have a persistence for combination analgesic agents; however, their QoL is slightly better than that of patients who revert to episodic headache or continue with chronic daily headache but do not overuse analgesic agents. Persistent analgesic overuse seems to be linked to the length of abuse and to the number of drugs ingested.