Background: This study reports secular trends in medicine use for headache among adolescents in 20 countries from 1986 to 2010. Methods: The international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey includes self-reported data about medicine use for headaches among nationally representative samples of 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds. We included 20 countries with data from at least three data collection waves, with a total of 380 129 participants. Results: The prevalence of medicine use for headaches varied from 16.5% among Hungarian boys in 1994 to 62.9% among girls in Wales in 1998. The prevalence was higher among girls than boys in every country and data collection year. The prevalence of medicine use for headaches increased in 12 of 20 countries, most notably in the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Sweden and Wales. Conclusion: The prevalence of medicine use for headaches among adolescents is high and increasing in many countries. As some medicines are toxic this may constitute a public health problem.
Field of Science*
- 3.3 Health sciences
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database