JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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In-patient versus out-patient withdrawal programmes for medication overuse headache: a 2-year randomized trial.

BACKGROUND: Medication-overuse headache (MOH) management usually includes a medication withdrawal. The choice of withdrawal modalities remains a matter of debate.

METHODS: We compared the efficacy of in-patient versus out-patient withdrawal programmes in 82 consecutive patients with MOH in an open-label prospective randomized trial. The main outcome measure was the reduction in number of headache days after 2 months and after 2 years. The responders were defined as patients who had reverted to episodic headaches and to an intake of acute treatments for headache less than 10 days per month.

RESULTS: Seventy-one patients had a complete drug withdrawal (n = 36 in the out-patient group; n = 35 in the in-patient group). The reduction of headache frequency and subjective improvement did not differ between groups. The long-term responder rate was similar in the out- and in- patient groups (44% and 44%; p = 0.810). The only predictive factor of a bad outcome 2 years after withdrawal was an initial consumption of more than 150 units of acute treatments for headache per month (OR = 3.1; 95% confidence interval 1.1-9.3; p = 0.044).

CONCLUSION: Given that we did not observe any difference in efficacy between the in- and out-patient withdrawals, we would recommend out-patient withdrawal in the first instance for patients with uncomplicated MOH.

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