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IJMDC. 2021; 5(1): 249-254

Exploration of Saudi's general population's awareness about paracetamol (acetaminophen) overuse headache: a cross-sectional inquiry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Basim Alharbi, Irfan Anjum, Ali Altasan, Mohammed Alhussain, Hussain Alshammasi, Abdulaziz Alfunaysan, Emad Masudi.


Background: Medication overuse headache is a secondary aggravating headache that is caused as a result of continuous overuse of abortive treatment for other pre-existing primary headaches. Overuse of simple analgesics, including paracetamol, could lead to medication overuse headache. Therefore, this study aimed to measure the community awareness toward paracetamol overuse headache.
Methodology: It was a cross-sectional study conducted through an Arabic printed self-administered questionnaire across the whole of Riyadh city. The questionnaire consisted of questions related to demographic data, chronic headache, and medication. The assessment of participantsÂ’ awareness was conducted by listing the side effects as multiple choices including chronic headache.
Results: A total of 323 participants were recruited, of which 118 (36.5%) reported of chronic headache. The use of paracetamol to relieve headache was reported by 228 (71.3%) participants. Being male increased the chances of using paracetamol by 93%; the age group between 31 and 40 years showed a significant effect and had less than 61% chance of using paracetamol. Almost 87.6% of the participants failed to recognize chronic headache as a side effect of using paracetamol.
Conclusion: The current study showed a lack of Saudi community awareness toward paracetamol overuse headache, which indicated the importance of raising awareness.

Key words: Awareness, medication overuse headache, headache, paracetamol, MOH

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