Headache Types

Headache Types

Medication Overuse Headache

Medically reviewed by Dr. Emma Foster, 17 May 2021

Medication-overuse headache is a disorder caused by overusing certain medications used to treat pain disorders. The headache manifests after regularly using too much medication (such as triptans, ergotamine, paracetamol, or opioids), for over 3 months. The resulting headache occurs on 15 or more days in a month, however, usually is resolved once the causative medication is either stopped or reduced. Medication-overuse headache can present as a constant tension type headache or even with migrainous features with moderate to severe pain and symptoms.


Further information

This type of headache often develops for people with migraine, or other primary headache disorders. Migraine attacks may develop from being episodic to becoming chronic, and continue to worsen until the medication overuse is stopped.

Migraine – a Common and Distressing Disorder – symptoms, triggers, and treatment

Medication Overuse Headache – from Migraine & Headache Awareness Week 2019

Other Headache Types Including Cluster Headache, NDPH and MOH – Webinar recording from Migraine & Headache Awareness Week 2020

Headache AustralianMigraine & Headache Australia is the only organization in Australia that aims to support the more than 5 million Australians affected by headache and migraine.