Medication patterns of recurrent headache sufferers: A community study

S. P. Forward, P. J. McGrath, D. MacKinnon, T. L. Brown, J. Swann, E. L. Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


This community-based telephone survey determined medication patterns of 274 frequent headache sufferers who reported 12 or more headaches a year. Headaches were classified using the International Headache Society's (IHS) criteria. Participants reported on 465 types of headaches: 129 tension headaches, 158 migraine headaches, 8 chronic tension headaches, and 148 headaches which were unclassifiable using IHS criteria. Females (n=133) reported an average of 1.9 types of headache and males (n=141) reported 1.5 headache types. Fifty-six percent of respondents used acetaminophen for tension-type and 60% used acetaminophen for migraine. One percent used prescription medication for tension headache and 12% used prescriptions for migraine. The perceived effectiveness of over-the-counter medication was approximately 7 on a scale of 0-10 for tension headaches and 6 for migraine. Both tension-headache and migraine-headache sufferers waited about 1 h before taking any medication. Tension-headache sufferers waited until the headache was above 5 on a 0 to 10 scale (4.6 for migraine). It is possible that more aggressive use of medication might improve headache management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 18 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Headache
  • Over-the-counter medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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