Opioids are prescribed in more than 50 percent of emergency department migraine visits, according to the American Headache Society (AHS).
University of Texas researchers studied migraine patients who visited the emergency department.
The researchers accessed the electronic medical record data of 788 enrollees in the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan and compared past opioid use, past preventive medication use, demographics, past health resource utilization, and comorbidities. Researchers also compared the timeframe to the next migraine-related emergency visit between those who used opioids and those who did not.
Opioid users were more likely to have future emergency visits than nonopioid users. Other factors that contributed to future emergency visits include hypertension, tobacco use disorder, gender, and age.
“For many patients, overuse of opioids can trigger the transition from episodic migraine to chronic migraine,” AHS said. “It is crucial to ensure that both simple analgesics and triptans are contraindicated before considering prescribing an opioid medication. These acute medications treat the source of the pain, not just the pain itself, and are less likely to induce migraine progression.”
The opioid users were also more like to be diagnosed with anxiety or a sleep disorder, be hospitalized and have a significantly higher hazard ratio for future migraine-related emergency visits.