Medication overuse-headache

Read more about the research group’s​ members, background, current projects and collaboration.​


Rigmor Jensen, Henrik Winther Schytz, Lars Bendtsen, Louise Ninett Carlsen, Signe Bruun Munksgaard, Maria Westergaard.


Medication-overuse headache (MOH) is a daily or almost daily type of headache that usually but not solely results from the chronification of primary forms, such as migraine or tension-type headache, as a consequence of the progressive increase in the intake of symptomatic drugs. It is estimated that approximately 63 mio individuals worldwide fulfill the criteria for MOH equal to 2%.
The disease represents one of the most disabling and costly disorders, which markedly deteriorates the quality of life of patients, exposing them to the risks of side-effects and co-morbid conditions. Our knowledge on the mechanisms leading to MOH is limited. Thus, there is an urgent need for studies investigating the pathophysiology and how treatment of MOH can be further optimized and more personalized.
We have demonstrated that abrubt withdrawn of overused drugs along with preventive treatment is the fastest and most effective treatment.

Current projects

We are currently investigating if patients with MOH have a different gene-expression (epigenetic profile) compared to patients with episodic migraine and healthy controls. Furthermore, we aim to examine if patients treated for MOH by preventive headache medication and withdrawal change their gene-expression over time. This is the first step in understanding more about the pathophysiology and in future find targets for treatment. 
Another ongoing project concerns if patients with MOH have changed sex hormone levels. From previous studies, we know that simple analgesics may disturb the levels of testoste-rone in healthy young men. We therefore measure sex hormone levels before and after withdrawal therapy in patients with MOH.
More projects concerning treatment are in pipeline.


National collaborations
  • ​Statens Serum Institute
  • Fertility Department, Rigshospitalet
  • Thomas Folkman Hansen, Research Park, Rigshospitalet-Glostrup

Updated: 03-11-2021

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