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Keywords:

  • codeine;
  • self-medication

Self-medicating behavior for the treatment of headaches is a widespread phenomenon with costly and hazardous consequences. The case presented illustrates the ramifications of such behavior and suggests an integrated approach to the management of headaches. Biological mechanisms for the aggravation of headaches by self-medication are discussed and integrated with psychological observations. The existing epidemiologic studies of self-medication are reviewed and reveal a need for further studies, particularly in the United States.