Advances in Health: Medication Overuse and Headaches

Advances in Health: Medication Overuse and Headaches


Advances in Health. I’m Rebecca Stewart. Headaches affect millions, and if you suffer,
you may not realize that the medication you take could be making it worse. Dr. Brian Grosberg is the medical director
of the Hartford HealthCare Headache Center with sites all across the state. So, how do you know if you’re having a reaction
to your medication, and that’s causing your headache. So, when somebody sees us at the Headache
Center, once we make a diagnosis, and if, in that case, it’s migraine, if people are
overusing acute pain medications, not because that want to but because they’re suffering
from headache so frequently, that can sometimes create a vicious cycle, and actually create
more frequent headaches. And what is actually going on in the brain
chemistry? What’s happening there, causing those headaches? The exact understanding of that mechanism
isn’t known, but we know that people who are using acute pain medications two or more days
per week in general on a regular basis over an extended period of time, that’s what can
actually create more frequent headaches. And there are certain medications that may
be more likely to do it. Like? Opiates or narcotics, and medications that
contain barbiturates. Medications that people know of like fioricet
or fiorinal, these are classes of medications that are more likely to create more frequent
headaches. That’s fascinating. How do you break that cycle? That’s where somebody would see us at the
Headache Center, and we would talk about a multi-disciplinary approach, using a non-medication
and a medication approach together to help get them off those medications that they’re
overusing. And are there other medications that don’t
have that effect? There are medications that don’t have that
effect, but usually you’re employing it if they’re having frequent headaches enough with
something to help prevent headaches as well. Is this something that you see quite a bit
of, or is it rare? Actually, we see it quite commonly in our
Headache Centers. That’s fascinating. Dr. Brian Grosberg with the Hartford HealthCare
Headache Center. If you’d like to learn more, head to wtnh.com/advancesinhealth.

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