Journal de pharmacie de Belgique

[Self-medication of regular headache: a community pharmacy-based survey in Belgium].

PMID 22978009


This observational community pharmacy-based study aimed to investigate headache characteristics and medication use of persons with regular headache presenting for self-medication. Participants (n=1205) completed ii) a questionnaire to assess current headache medication and previous physician diagnosis, (ii) the ID Migraine Screener [ID-M] and (iii) the MIDAS questionnaire. Forty-four % 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=51). Only 14.5% was ever advised to limit intake frequency of acute headache treatments. This study identified underdiagnosis of migraine, low use of migraine prophylaxis and triptans, and high prevalence of medication overuse among subjects seeking self-medication for regular headache. Community pharmacists have a strategic position in education and referral of these self-medicating headache patients.

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Ergotamine D-tartrate, ≥97.0% (calc. based on dry substance, NT)
C33H35N5O5 · 0.5C4H6O6
Ergotamine D-tartrate, tested according to Ph.Eur.
C33H35N5O5 · 0.5C4H6O6