[en] community pharmacy ; headache ; medication overuse ; self-medication
[en] Background: This observational community pharmacy-based study aimed to investigate headache characteristics and medication use of persons with regular headache presenting for self-medication. Methods: Participants (n = 1205) completed (i) a questionnaire to assess current headache medication and previous physician diagnosis, (ii) the ID Migraine Screener (ID-M), and (iii) the Migraine Disability Assessment questionnaire. Results: Forty-four percentage of the study population (n = 528) did not have a physician diagnosis of their headache, and 225 of them (225/528, 42.6%) were found to be ID-M positive. The most commonly used acute headache drugs were paracetamol (used by 62% of the study population), NSAIDs (39%), and combination analgesics (36%). Only 12% of patients physician-diagnosed with migraine used prophylactic migraine medication, and 25% used triptans. About 24% of our sample (n = 292) chronically overused acute medication, which was combination analgesic overuse (n = 166), simple analgesic overuse (n = 130), triptan overuse (n = 19), ergot overuse (n = 6), and opioid overuse (n = 5). Only 14.5% was ever advised to limit intake frequency of acute headache treatments. Conclusions: This study identified underdiagnosis of migraine, low use of migraine prophylaxis and triptans, and high prevalence of medication overuse amongst subjects seeking self-medication for regular headache. Community pharmacists have a strategic position in education and referral of these self-medicating headache patients.
Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche sur le Médicament - CIRM