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BrainWaves #12 Headache meds giving you a headache?

MedLink Neurology
Podcast is delighted to feature selected episodes from BrainWaves, courtesy of James E Siegler MD, its originator and host. BrainWaves is an academic audio podcast whose mission is to educate medical providers through clinical cases and topical reviews in neurology, medicine, and the humanities, and episodes originally aired from 2016 to 2021.

Originally released: July 18, 2017

Although physicians use medications to treat headaches, the mind can become tolerant. In fact, many otherwise helpful medications may even aggravate a pre-existing headache syndrome. In this BrainWaves brief, we discuss the concept of medication-overuse headache and its treatment, which may be counterintuitive and is often challenging for patients.

BrainWaves podcasts and online content are intended for medical education only and should not be used to guide medical decision-making in routine clinical practice. Any cases discussed in this episode are fictional and do not contain any patient health-identifying information. The content in this episode was vetted and approved by Roderick Spears.


Diener HC, Limmroth V. Medication-overuse headache: a worldwide problem. Lancet Neurol 2004;3(8):475-83. PMID 15261608

Dodick DW. Clinical practice. Chronic daily headache. N Engl J Med 2006;354(2):158-65. Erratum in: N Engl J Med 2006;354(8):884. PMID 16407511

Tomkins GE, Jackson JL, O'Malley PG, Balden E, Santoro JE. Treatment of chronic headache with antidepressants: a meta-analysis. Am J Med 2001;111(1):54-63. PMID 11448661

We believe that the principles expressed or implied in the podcast remain valid, but certain details may be superseded by evolving knowledge since the episode’s original release date.

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