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Genetic research in medication overuse headaches

Posted Jun 16 2010 6:00pm

Medication overuse headaches are usually treated by withdrawing the offending drug (usually Excedrin, Fioricet or narcotics, such as codeine, Vicodin and Percocet) or dietary caffeine.  About half of the people who stop taking these drugs improve, while the other half does not.  A recent study by Dr. Andrew Hershey and his colleagues at the University of Cincinnati suggests that by doing genomic analysis of the blood we may be able to predict who is going to improve by withdrawing overused medication and who is not. This does not mean that the latter group is going to be left to suffer. However, this test could save a major effort that is involved in getting someone off medications. Instead these patients can be maintained on their medication while other preventive treatments are tried. These treatments can include biofeedback, magnesium infusions, Botox injections, prophylactic drugs, acupuncture, CoQ10, butterbur, and other treatments.

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