Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dependence Scale Useful in Predicting Medication Overuse Headache


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A scale used to determine drug dependency can be useful in detecting medication overuse headache among chronic headache patients, according to research performed in Norway.

The Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) is a questionnaire used to assess a person's level of dependence on opioids (synthetic pain medications that mimic naturally occurring substances the body creates in response to stress or pain).

A study of 405 people with primary chronic headache disorders found that SDS scores were significantly higher in patients with medication overuse headache than those without.

The study subjects were classified as follows: 95% had chronic tension-type headache; 4% had chronic migraine; and less than 1% had some other primary chronic headache disorder.

Medication overuse headache (also sometimes referred to as rebound headache) results from excessive use of treatment medications, which leads to more frequent headaches with a very specific set of characteristics.

These headaches tend to shift back and forth between resembling tension-type headaches and migraines.

The SDS can be completed in less than a minute and only contains 5 questions. It could provide an easy way for care providers to assess a patient's risk for medication overuse headache.

Avoiding medication overuse headache is extremely important because patients rarely respond to preventative medications while they are experiencing it.

Sources:
WHO: Severity of Dependence Scale
The Severity of Dependence Scale Detects People With Medication Overuse Headache.
The Akershus Study of Chronic Headache.
Medication Overuse Headache: When the Remedy Backfires



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