Brief intervention can help patients with medication-overuse headache

GP doctor speaking with patient

Headaches caused by the overuse of medication are common but sufferers may be reluctant to stop taking a medicine that they view as indispensable.

Researchers from University of Oslo, Norway, found that a structured brief intervention by GPs, similar to the technique typically used for patients who misuse drugs or alcohol, has the potential to change the views and behaviours of patients with medication-overuse headache.

The success of the intervention was dependent on a “good alliance” with the patient because of the challenges faced by GPs trying to convince them that the medication they were taking to treat their headache could in fact be causing headaches.

The findings, based on the results of four focus group interviews with 22 GPs, are published in the British Journal of General Practice (online, 1 September 2014)[1]




[1] Frich JC, Kristoffersen ES & Lundqvis C. GPs’ experiences with brief intervention for medication-overuse headache: a qualitative study in general practice. British Journal of General Practice. Available from: doi:10.3399/bjgp14X681313 (accessed 1 September 2014)

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 13 September 2014, Vol 293, No 7827;293(7827):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20066342

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