JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Advice alone vs. structured detoxification programmes for medication overuse headache: a prospective, randomized, open-label trial in transformed migraine patients with low medical needs.

The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of strong advice to withdraw the overused medication with the effectiveness of two structured pharmacological detoxification strategies in a cohort of patients diagnosed with probable migraine overuse headache (MOH) plus migraine and presenting low medical needs. One hundred and twenty patients participated in the study. Exclusion criteria included: previous detoxification treatments, coexistent medical or psychiatric illnesses and overuse of agents containing opioids, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Group A received only intensive advice to withdraw the overused medication. Group B underwent a standard out-patient detoxification programme (advice+prednisone+preventive treatment). Group C underwent a standard in-patient withdrawal programme (as in group B + fluid replacement and antiemetics). Withdrawal therapy was considered successful if, after 2 months, the patient had reverted to an episodic pattern of headache and to an intake of symptomatic medication on fewer than 10 days/month. We were able to detoxify 75.4% of the whole cohort, 77.5% of patients in group A, 71.7% of patients in group B and 76.9% of those in group C (P>0.05). In patients with migraine plus MOH and low medical needs, effective drug withdrawal may be obtained through the imparting of advice alone.

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