Preventative Meds Help Reduce Rebound Headaches: Study

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Withdrawal therapy combined with early preventative medications help ward off medication overuse headaches (also called rebound headaches), a new study says.

These headaches typically occur in people who suffer from migraines, cluster headaches or tension-type headaches and take pain medications that don't work. When they don't get relief from their pain, they take another pill, which can lead to a rebound headache, CNN reported.

Currently, withdrawal therapy is the only treatment for rebound headaches, sometimes along with physical therapy or preventative medications such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers to help control withdrawal pain, or injections of Botox or antibodies to prevent migraines.

However, there's been ongoing debate about whether preventative treatments help patients undergoing withdrawal therapy for rebound headaches, CNN reported.

In this new study, researchers examined the effectiveness of withdrawal therapy alone, withdrawal with preventatives, or preventatives alone in reducing headache days per month.

All three approaches were effective, but withdrawal plus preventive medicine led to the largest reductions in headache and migraine days, days with short-term medication use and days with headache pain intensity, CNN reported.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, also found that patients who withdrew from pain medications with the help of preventatives were much more likely to be cured of their medication overuse headaches than patients who used preventatives or withdrawal alone.

"We were surprised of the study results and the excellent adherence to the treatment," Jensen told CNN. "We now recommend withdrawal and early start of preventive treatment."

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