Applicability of DSM-V substance use disorder (SUD) criteria in medication overuse headache (MOH)




Medication Overuse Headache, Substance use disorder, addiction, dependence, abuse, migraine


Medication overuse headache (MOH) is a chronic secondary headache disorder attributed to the frequent or regular use of analgesics or acute antimigraine drugs in patients with a primary headache disorder. In addition, it has been linked to substance use disorder (SUD) also known as drug addiction, a persistent use of drugs or substances, despite substantial damage and adverse consequences, diagnosed by DSM-V criteria. At this time, apart from opioids, acute headache medications are not included in SUD. Despite the idea that the compulsive search for reward in MOH is similar to that observed in substance dependence, the DSM-V SUD criteria have never been carefully applied to MOH. We propose to discuss each DSM-V criterion of SUD diagnosis to see whether it is appropriate to use in MOH. We considered it was not-applicable when dealing with a situation that could be explained both by addictive behavior and by poorly controlled primary headache. We conclude that the SUD criteria should not be applied to patients who meet the criteria for MOH.



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How to Cite

Lima TAC de, Peres MFP, Silberstein SD. Applicability of DSM-V substance use disorder (SUD) criteria in medication overuse headache (MOH). Headache Med [Internet]. 2022 Jan. 13 [cited 2024 May 28];12(3):240-6. Available from:




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