Clinical Edge

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Complementary/Alternative Drug Use for Headache

Headache; ePub 2017 Jul 25; Zhang, et al

Although complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is used by many sufferers of headache/migraine, the use of CAM specifically for the treatment of headache/migraine is relatively low in the US, a recent study found. This secondary analysis of data from the 2012 US NHIS examined the use of CAM among migraine/headache sufferers, including the main reasons related to CAM use. The sample of 34,525 adults included 6,558 (18.7%) headache/migraine sufferers. Researchers found:

  • Of the headache/migraine sufferers, a substantial proportion (37.6%, n=2,427) used CAM for various conditions; however, CAM use specifically for headache/migraine was much less prevalent (3.3%, n=216).
  • Of those who used CAM for headache/migraine, about half used CAM in conjunction with prescription (47.8%, n=100) or over-the-counter medication (55.1%, n=113).
  • The most frequently used CAM modality among all headache/migraine sufferers (n=6,558) was manipulative therapy (22.0%, n=1,317), herbal supplementation (21.7%, n=1,389) and mind-body therapy (17.9%, n=1,100).
  • The top 3 reasons for using CAM for headache were general wellness (28.7%, n=60/209), improving overall health (26.8%, n=56/209), and reducing stress (16.7%, n = 35/209).

Citation:

Zhang Y, Dennis JA, Leach MJ, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use among US adults with headache or migraine: Results from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. [Published online ahead of print July 25, 2017]. Headache. doi:10.1111/head.13148.

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