Medicine-overuse headache (rebound headache)

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A medicine-overuse headache (sometimes called a rebound headache) is a type of chronic headache that can result from the overuse of medicines used to treat headache pain. This is often a problem for people who have a history of headaches like migraines.

This type of headache occurs once the medicine has worn off, prompting a person to take another dose. This can lead to a cycle of more frequent headaches and taking doses of medicine more often. They may occur every day. Both over-the-counter and prescription medicines for headaches may lead to this type of headache.

Treating medicine-overuse headaches can be hard. To break the cycle, a person needs to stop taking the medicine they are using to stop headache pain. The person may need to stop taking the medicine right away or slowly decrease the amount of medicine they take over time. Medicine taken daily to prevent headaches may be needed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking medicine for headaches more than 2 days a week.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.