Simple Test For Medication Overuse Headaches

Medication overuse (not opioids in this study) is implicated in  chronic daily headaches.  A simple screening questionnaire has been devised to suggest this is a problem.

J Headache Pain. 2013 Oct 2;14(1):81. [Epub ahead of print]
Probable medications overuse headaches: validation of a brief easy-to-use screening tool in a headache centre.
Dousset V, Maud M, Legoff M, Radat F, Brochet B, Dartigues JF, Kurth T.

Questions include:
1. Do you have headaches for more than 15 days/month?

2. Do you take treatment for attacks more than 10 days per month?

( use would be  would include ergotamine, triptans, analgesic opioids or combination analgesic medications on ≥ 10 days /month on a regular basis for 3 months)

3. Is it for more than 3 months?

4. Is drug intake regular?

What would put icing on the cake would be awareness that headaches have significantly worsened since they did above.

In their study,

  • 8 patients overused acetaminophen or NSAID
  • 10 overused an association of medications
  • 14 overused combinations
  • 9 overused triptans
  • one ergotamine.


  • sensitivity of 95.2% and a specificity of 80%.

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