Economic aspects of drug abuse/misuse in headache patients

G. Sandrini, F. Frediani, F. Rossi, G. Bussone, E. Sternieri, G. Nappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In spite of its epidemiological relevance, the problem of drug abuse/misuse in headache patients has not been sufficiently investigated. Some studies have indicated that the incorrect prescription of drugs by physicians often encourages drug abuse. Moreover, a majority of patients take analgesics that have been purchased over-the-counter, and an incorrect selection of these drugs is an important factor in inducing chronic headache. The economic aspects of analgesic drug abuse should also include the indirect costs due to the treatment of iatrogenic/toxic effects, the prophylaxis of chronic drug-induced headache, and the increase in the number of physicians' consultations and/or the number of instrumental and laboratory investigations. In our study we found that indirect costs in daily headache are higher than those related to drug intake. In particular, we observed the frequent hospitalization of patients who were treated in non-specialised centers. These data suggest that social costs could be reduced if these patients were to be examined in headache centers. Moreover, well-informed physicians can reduce the number of unnecessary investigations and help to prevent, in part, drug misuse in headache patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
JournalFunctional Neurology
Issue number6 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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