- Thursday, January 1, 2009
- Epidemiological, Clinical, and Pharmacological Aspects of Headache in a University Undergraduate Population in Palestine
- Published at:Cephalalgia: International Headache Society 2009
Background and Objectives: Headache is one of the most common complaints in clinical practice. Few studies regarding headache in university students have been investigated in the in the Middle East. The objective of this study was to explore the prevalence, clinical characteristics, triggering factors and treatment options of headaches in university undergraduate students in Palestine/ Middle East. Methodology: Data were collected by interviewing a sample of 1900 students. The Headache Assessment Quiz was used to measure quality and severity of headache and to collect data on triggering factors and symptom management. Results: A total of 1808 (95.2%) reported having at least one headache episode in the previous year. A positive family history of headache was found in 40% of students. The prevalence rate of frequent headache (≥ 2 episodes/ month) was found in 1096 (60.9%) students; 613 females (55.9%). Of those having frequent headaches, 228 (20.8%) experience moderate to severe episodes, 341 (31.2%) have pulsating, throbbing and pounding pain, and 274 (25%) have unilateral pain. The most common triggering factors among students with frequent headaches were: tension/ stress (78.2%) and sleep deprivation (75.4%). Less than 5% of students sought medical assistance during headache episodes. Most of the students (79.1%) reported self- therapy with single analgesic (53.4%), herbs (10.2%) or combination (15.5%) while 20.9% reported using no medication of any type to decrease pain. Acetaminophen (48.5%) followed by ibuprofen (4.9%) were the most commonly used non-prescription analgesic drugs Conclusion: Headache is a prevalent symptom in the college age population. Further research is needed to determine the prevalence of specific types of headaches. Health care providers are required to educate this population as well as to assist students in properly diagnosing and treating headache types.