The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

The Journal of Headache and Pain Cover Image

Volume 15 Supplement 1

Abstracts from the 4th European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress: EHMTIC 2014

Open Access

EHMTI-0250. General practitioners’ experiences with brief intervention for medication-overuse headache: a qualitative study

  • ES Kristoffersen1,
  • C Lundqvist2 and
  • JC Frich3
The Journal of Headache and Pain201415(Suppl 1):C32

Published: 18 September 2014


Health CareGeneral PractitionerGeneral PracticeQualitative StudyPrimary Health Care


Medication-overuse headache (MOH) is common in the general population, and the majority of sufferers are managed in primary health care. Brief Intervention (BI) has been used as a motivational technique for patients with drug and alcohol overuse, and may a have role in the treatment of MOH.


To explore GPs’ experiences using BI in the management of patients with MOH.


Qualitative study in Norwegian general practice. Data was collected through four focus group interviews with 22 GPs who participated in an intervention study on BI for MOH. We used systematic text condensation to analyse transcripts from the focus group interviews.


The GPs experienced challenges when trying to convince patients that the medication they used to treat and prevent headache could cause headache, but labelling MOH as a diagnosis opened up space for action. GPs were able to use BI within the scope of a regular consultation, and they thought that the structured approach had a potential to change patients’ views about their condition and medication use. Being diagnosed with medication overuse could bring about feelings of guilt in patients, and GPs emphasised that a good alliance with the patient was necessary for successful change using BI to manage MOH.


GPs experience BI as a feasible strategy to treat MOH, and the technique relies on a good alliance between the doctor and patient. When using BI, GPs must be prepared to counter patients’ misconceptions about medication used for headache.

No conflict of interest.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of General Practice, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Research Centre, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog, Norway
Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway


© Kristoffersen et al; licensee Springer. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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