Painkillers give Dutch a massive headache

18th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 August 2004, AMSTERDAM — Some 320,000 people in the Netherlands suffer bad headaches on a daily basis, and the culprit is often painkillers or caffeine.

18 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Some 320,000 people in the Netherlands suffer bad headaches on a daily basis, and the culprit is often painkillers or caffeine.

The Dutch Association of General Practitioners (NHG) issued new guidelines to doctors on Wednesday on how to treat headaches. The NHG cautions its members to be alert as to how many painkillers their patients are taking.

NHG researcher, Doctor Marion Grol told newspaper Algemeen Dagblad that patients can suffer medication-dependant headaches as a result of using the painkiller paracetamol more than three times a week.

Prolonged use of painkillers can have the opposite effect than intended, with the user suffering recurring and heavy headaches that return daily. Taking too many painkillers can also result in other physical complaints.

The NHG says doctors must point out to their patients that stopping taking painkillers and caffeine is the only thing that helps. In some cases people get ill as they wean themselves of the painkillers and need hospitalisation or a week's bed rest.

Prevention is, however, the best medicine, according to the doctors' association. "The problem is that doctors often do not have a complete picture of the medication their patients are taking," Grol said.

Most people, even those suffering daily attacks, do not go to their doctor. Instead they rely on moderately-heavy medication that is freely available, such as naproxen, ibuprofen and diclofenac.

The new guidelines suggest doctors pay attention to their patients' caffeine levels resulting from too much coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.

Meanwhile, it was also reported Wednesday that more and more women in the Netherlands have an alcohol problem. Currently women make up a quarter of problem drinkers in addiction treatment. Back the early 1990s the figure was about 20 percent, newspaper De Telegraaf said.


The combined pressure of paid employment and raising a family is the main factor attributed to the rise in alcoholism among women.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news, healthcare in the Netherlands, headaches

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