Managing Headache in Older People

Reference work entry


Adults aged 20–50 years are the most likely headache sufferers but elderly individuals are affected too. In the elderly, as the prevalence of primary headache disorders decreases, the prevalence of secondary headaches increases, but primary headaches remain the main forms also in this age group. Scientific evidence referring to non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment of headaches in the elderly is poor. So far, most of the available clinical trials excluded old subjects. When treating headache in the elderly, particular caution should be adopted in deciding for acute attack treatment or prevention since the elderly often present comorbid diseases, take polytherapy, and are at increased risk of adverse effects. For this reason, selection of available medications should be made at the individual level considering the above reported factors. Simplification of the drug regimens and downward of dosing are often the most adequate measures.


Cluster Headache Giant Cell Arteritis Sodium Valproate Ergot Alkaloid Secondary Headache 
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© Lifting The Burden 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of L’AquilaL’AquilaItaly

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