Multimorbidity in patients with chronic migraine and medication overuse headache

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Objectives: Patients with chronic migraine (CM) display a considerable amount of comorbidities, particularly psychiatric and cardiovascular, and the presence of multiple comorbidities, that is, the so-called multimorbidity, is a risk factor for migraine chronification or maintenance of CM. Our aim was to address the rate and impact of multimorbidity in patients with CM and medication overuse headache (MOH). Materials & Methods: In a sample of patients with CM attending a structured withdrawal for coexisting MOH, we defined multimorbidity as the presence of two or more conditions in addition to CM-MOH. We compared patients with and without multimorbidity for demographic and clinical variables, quality of life, and disability; we also tested whether patients with multimorbidity had higher likelihood to attend emergency room, relapse into CM, and require further withdrawal treatments by 12 months. Results: One hundred and ninety-four patients were enrolled as follows: 61% had at least one comorbidity, the most common being mental (34%), circulatory (18%), and endocrine conditions (13%); 32% were multimorbidity cases. Patients with multimorbidity had higher headaches frequency, older age, lower education and lower employment rates, higher disability and lower QoL. They were more frequently opioids/barbiturates overusers and were more likely to attend ER (OR: 2.36), relapse into CM (OR: 2.19), and undergo another withdrawal (OR: 2.75) by 12 months after discharge, after controlling for age, gender, years of education, and headache frequency. Conclusions: Recognizing multimorbidity in patients with CM-MOH is important to enhance the management of these complex patients, who are at risk of polypharmacy and increased health care utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • comorbidity
  • disability
  • medication overuse headache
  • multimorbidity
  • quality of life
  • relapse rate
  • withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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