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Effect of Autogenic Training on Drug Consumption in Patients With Primary Headache: An 8-Month Follow-up Study

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Objective.—To examine the effects of Schultz-type autogenic training on headache-related drug consumption and headache frequency in patients with migraine, tension-type, or mixed (migraine plus tension-type) headache over an 8-month period. Background.—Behavioral treatments often are used alone or adjunctively for different types of headache. There are, however, only a few studies that have compared the efficacy and durability of the same treatment in different types of primary headache, and the effects of treatment on headache-related drug consumption rarely have been assessed even in these studies. Methods.—Twenty-five women with primary headache (11 with mixed headache, 8 with migraine, and 6 with tension-type headache) were evaluated via an open-label, self-controlled, 8-month, follow-up study design. After an initial 4 months of observation, patients began learning Schultz-type autogenic training as modified for patients with headache. They practiced autogenic training on a regular basis for 4 months. Based on data from headache diaries and daily medication records, headache frequencies and the amounts of analgesics, “migraine-specific” drugs (ergots and triptans), and anxiolytics taken by the patients were compared in the three subgroups over the 8-month period. Results.—From the first month of implementation of autogenic training, headache frequencies were significantly reduced in patients with tension-type and mixed headache. Significant reduction in frequency was achieved in patients with migraine only from the third month of autogenic training. Decreases in headache frequencies were accompanied by decreases in consumption of migraine drugs and analgesics resulting in significant correlations among these parameters. Reduction in consumption of anxiolytic drugs was more rapid and robust in patients with tension-type headache compared to patients with migraine, and this outcome failed to show any correlation with change in headache frequency. Conclusion.—Schultz-type autogenic training is an effective therapeutic approach that may lead to a reduction in both headache frequency and the use of headache medication.

Keywords: analgesic; antimigraine drug; anxiolytic drug; autogenic training; migraine; mixed headache; tension headache

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1526-4610.2003.03049.x

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Neurochemistry and Experimental Medicine, and the Department of Vascular Neurology, Semmelweis University National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology 2: Department of Clinical Psychology, Semmelweis University 3: Johan Bela National Center of Epidemiology, Budapest, Hungary.

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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