Drug consumption in medication overuse headache is influenced by brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism

Cherubino Di Lorenzo, Giorgio Di Lorenzo, Grazia Sances, Natascia Ghiotto, Elena Guaschino, Gaetano S. Grieco, Filippo M. Santorelli, Carlo Casali, Alfonso Troisi, Alberto Siracusano, Francesco Pierelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Medication overuse headache (MOH) can be considered a clinical condition at the boundaries between drug addiction and chronic pain disorder. The common 196G > A single-nucleotide polymorphism of BDNF gene, resulting in a valine 66 to methionine (Val66Met), is related with behaviour disorders and substance abuse. With the aim of identifying a worsening factor in MOH, rather than the detection of a specific risk factor for the development of the disease, we investigated whether the presence of a functional BDNF polymorphism might determine clinical differences within a group of 90 MOH patients, particularly in monthly drug consumption, that is the hallmark of disease. Directly comparing MOH patients homozygous for G allele (G/G) with carriers of A allele (non-G/G), we have observed 47 G/G genotypes and 60 non-G/G genotypes. Non-G/G had a higher consumption of monthly drug number (Cohen's d = 0.76) than G/G patients. At multiple regression analysis, the Val66Met BDNF polymorphism emerged as a significant independent predictor of analgesic drug consumption (Beta = 0.33, Cohen's f2 = 0.134). These findings showed an influence of examined BDNF polymorphism in the MOH clinical features, supporting the idea that MOH is a substance abuse disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-355
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Addictive behaviour
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
  • Genetic polymorphisms
  • Medication overuse headache (MOH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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