EHMTI-0144. Physical and mental health status of people with medication-overuse headache across socioeconomic strata: results of a population-based study

  • M Westergaard
  • C Glümer
  • E Holme Hansen
  • RH Jensen
Open Access
Meeting abstract


Mental Health Status Socioeconomic Position Chronic Headache National Health Survey Socioeconomic Stratum 
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Medication-overuse headache (MOH) is more prevalent among those with low socioeconomic position (SEP), but it is not known how SEP influences the physical and mental health status of people with MOH.


In this cross-sectional study, we compared health status scores of people with MOH to the mean for the population, stratified according to SEP indicators: educational attainment, work status, and income.


129,150 individuals aged >16 years were invited to the 2010 Danish National Health Survey. Data on SEP indicators were retrieved from national registers. Respondents with headache >15 days/month over three months were classified as having chronic headache (CH). Those with CH and concurrent over-the-counter analgesic intake of >15 days/month were classified as having medication-overuse headache (MOH). Physical and mental health composite scores (SF-12) were summarized per headache group, stratified by SEP, and compared to the sample mean. All analyses were adjusted for stratified sampling and non-response.


The response rate was 53.1%. The prevalences of CH (3.3%) and MOH (1.7%) were inversely related to SEP. Compared to the general population, health status scores were significantly lower among people with CH, particularly those with MOH, regardless of education and income. Scores were markedly lower among those with MOH who were unemployed, early pensioners, or were receiving social/sickness benefits.


CH and MOH are more prevalent among those with low SEP but is associated with physical and mental ill-health across all socioeconomic strata. Preventing and treating MOH would substantially reduce the individual and societal burden of CH.

No conflict of interest.

Copyright information

© Westergaard et al; licensee Springer. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • M Westergaard
    • 1
  • C Glümer
    • 2
  • E Holme Hansen
    • 3
  • RH Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyDanish Headache CenterGlostrupDenmark
  2. 2.Glostrup HospitalResearch Center for Prevention and HealthGlostrupDenmark
  3. 3.Department of PharmacyFaculty of Health and Medical SciencesCopenhagenDenmark

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