You are here

Headache Society Lists Top Five Tests and Treatments to Avoid

Risks and costs may outweigh benefits (November 21)

The American Headache Society (AHS) is the latest group of experts to list procedures and treatments that they believe have risks or costs that may outweigh the benefits to patients.

As part of the Choosing Wisely initiative, the AHS surveyed its members to develop a candidate list of items for a “Top 5” list of low-value care in headache medicine. Through a process of literature review and consensus, a final list of five items was compiled.

The five recommendations approved by the AHS Board of Directors are:

  • Don’t perform neuroimaging studies in patients with stable headaches that meet criteria for migraine.
  • Don’t perform computed tomography imaging for headache when magnetic resonance imaging is available, except in emergency settings.
  • Don’t recommend surgical deactivation of migraine trigger points outside of a clinical trial.
  • Don’t prescribe opioid- or butalbital-containing medications as a first-line treatment for recurrent headache disorders.
  • Don’t recommend prolonged or frequent use of over-the-counter pain medications for headache.

The recommendations were published in the journal Headache.

Source: Headache; November 21, 2013.

Recent Headlines

Declining lung cancer mortality helped fuel the progress
Kinase inhibitor targets tumors with a PDGFRA exon 18 mutation
Delayed surgery reduces benefits; premature surgery raises risks
Mortality nearly doubled when patients stopped using their drugs
Acasti reports disappointing results for a second Omega-3-based drug
So far in January, the increases average 5%
Fast-acting insulin aspart may simplify mealtime dosing
Simple change in dosage and route may improve a century-old vaccine
Neurodevelopmental deficits detected in Colombian toddlers