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  • Updated 04.28.2023
  • Released 01.17.2021
  • Expires For CME 04.28.2026

Approach to headache patient



Headache is the medical problem most commonly observed by neurologists, causes substantial pain and disability, and is associated with a high burden and considerable costs. Headache is listed among the World Health Organization’s major causes of disability, with a global prevalence of 47% (symptoms occurring at least once in the past year) (40). Women are disproportionately affected (3:1) and its higher prevalence among those of working age adds to the socioeconomic burden with loss of productivity.

Key points

• Headache is the most common medical problem observed by neurologists and a major cause of disability in young people.

• Diagnosis of headache is based on well-defined clinical criteria according to the International Headache Society.

• Approach to headache patient includes pharmacological treatment and recommendations about lifestyle adjustments.

• Headache assessment includes not only headache-related parameters but also patients’ quality of life assessment (through patient-reported outcomes).

• New specific treatments for the acute and preventive treatment are now available including CGRP-targeted monoclonal antibodies, gepants, and ditans.

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