Combined pharmacological and short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy for probable medication overuse headache: a pilot study

M Altieri, R Di Giambattista, L Di Clemente, D Fagiolo, E Tarolla, A Mercurio, E Vicenzini, L Tarsitani, G L Lenzi, M Biondi, V Di Piero
Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache 2009, 29 (3): 293-9
We studied the effects of short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (STPP) and pharmacological therapy in 26 consecutive patients with probable medication overuse headache (pMOH). Patients underwent a standard in-patient detoxification protocol, lasting a mean of 7 days. Eleven patients overused non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), five a combination of NSAIDs and triptans, four triptans, four a combination of NSAIDs, and three triptans and ergot derivates. Preventive therapy was initiated during detoxification. The STPP protocol comprised the Brief Psychodynamic Investigation (BPI) and psychoanalysis-inspired psychotherapy. All patients (groups A and B) underwent the BPI and pharmacological therapy. Half of the patients (group B) also not randomly underwent psychoanalysis-inspired psychotherapy. We found a significant interaction between time and group for headache frequency and medication intake. At 12-month follow-up, a statistically greater decrease in headache frequency and medication intake was observed in group B than in group A (P = 0.0108 and P = 0.0097, respectively). The relapse rate was much lower in group B patients at both 6 and 12 months [15.3%, odds ratio (OR) 0.11, P = 0.016, and 23%, OR 0.18, P = 0.047, respectively] than in group A. The risk of developing chronic migraine (CM) during follow-up was higher in group A than in group B at 6 (OR 2.0, P = 0.047) and 12 months (OR 2.75, P = 0.005). Our study suggests that STPP in conjunction with drug withdrawal and prophylactic pharmacotherapy relieves headache symptoms in pMOH, reducing both long-term relapses and the burden of CM.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"