Thousands of Danes suffer from headaches due to medication overuse – The Post

Thousands of Danes suffer from headaches due to medication overuse

New campaign recommends going cold turkey on painkillers

Painkillers’ overuse can lead to even more painful and more frequent headaches (photo: iStock)
September 12th, 2016 12:12 pm| by Lucie Rychla

About 100,000 Danes suffer from severe headaches due to medication overuse, claims the Danish pharmacists association Apotekerforening, which has just launched a nationwide prevention campaign together with the Danish Headache Centre at Glostrup Hospital.

According to professor Rigmor Højland Jensen from the Headache Centre, most people are not aware their headache is caused by painkillers and that the more they use the pills the less effective they become.

In fact, medication-induced headaches can be even more severe and occur more frequently than common headaches.

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Manageable withdrawal symptoms
The best way to overcome this problem is, according to Jensen, to go cold turkey and stay away from painkillers for at least two months.

While this process may bring about withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, chills, sweating and anxiety, 80 percent of all patients can manage the discomfort on their own, while the other 20 percent have to be hospitalised for 2 weeks, explains Jensen.

In 2015, the Danes bought some 185.4 million doses of over-the-counter painkillers, according to Apotekerforening.