Medication Overuse Headache in School-Aged Children: More Common Than Expected?

Authors

  • Fausta Piazza MD,

    1. From the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit – IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza and U. Balottin); Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS Foundation – Milan, Italy (M. Chiappedi); Child Neuropsichiatry, University of Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza, E. Maffioletti, and U. Balottin); Headache Science Centre of the IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Galli).
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  • Matteo Chiappedi MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. From the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit – IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza and U. Balottin); Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS Foundation – Milan, Italy (M. Chiappedi); Child Neuropsichiatry, University of Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza, E. Maffioletti, and U. Balottin); Headache Science Centre of the IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Galli).
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  • Erika Maffioletti MD,

    1. From the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit – IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza and U. Balottin); Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS Foundation – Milan, Italy (M. Chiappedi); Child Neuropsichiatry, University of Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza, E. Maffioletti, and U. Balottin); Headache Science Centre of the IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Galli).
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  • Federica Galli PhD,

    1. From the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit – IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza and U. Balottin); Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS Foundation – Milan, Italy (M. Chiappedi); Child Neuropsichiatry, University of Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza, E. Maffioletti, and U. Balottin); Headache Science Centre of the IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Galli).
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  • Umberto Balottin MD

    1. From the Child Neuropsychiatry Unit – IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza and U. Balottin); Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS Foundation – Milan, Italy (M. Chiappedi); Child Neuropsichiatry, University of Pavia, Italy (F. Piazza, E. Maffioletti, and U. Balottin); Headache Science Centre of the IRCCS “National Institute of Neurology C. Mondino” Foundation, Pavia, Italy (F. Galli).
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  • Conflict of Interest: The authors report no conflict of interest.

M. Chiappedi, Don Carlo Gnocchi ONLUS Foundation, Child Neuropsychiatry, Viale Mangiagalli 52, Salice Terme – Godiasco, Pavia 27052, Italy, email: mchiappedi@gmail.com

Abstract

Objective.— To investigate the prevalence of medication overuse headache (MOH) in a group of children and adolescents seen for headache in a third-level center in Italy.

Background.— Epidemiological studies indicate a prevalence of MOH in children and adolescents between 0.3 and 0.5%; no data are available for the Italian population.

Methods.— We studied a group of first-seen children and adolescents (118 patients, 43.2% male and 56.8% female, mean age: 11.9 years). A detailed history was taken, using criteria defined by Olesen et al to assess the presence of MOH. Statistical correlations between demographic and diagnostic variables were assessed.

Results.— Eleven (9.3%) of our patients presented MOH; in the group with chronic daily headache, the prevalence raised to 20.8%. At follow up, after introduction of a more rationale treatment, most patients improved, but 2 of them reported a worsening of their headache.

Conclusions.— We believe that a strong warning regarding medication overuse in headache therapy is essential for pediatricians and neuropsychiatrists.

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