NICE Quality Standard QS42: Headaches in young people and adults

This quality standard covers the diagnosis and management of the most common primary headache disorders (tension-type headache, migraine and cluster headache) and medication overuse headache in adults and young people aged 12 years and older.

Headaches are one of the most common neurological problems presented to GPs and neurologists. An estimated 25 million days are lost from work or school because of migraine each year [1].

List of quality statements

  • Statement 1. People diagnosed with a primary headache disorder have their headache type classified as part of the diagnosis.
  • Statement 2. People with a primary headache disorder are given information on the risk of medication overuse headache.
  • Statement 3. People with tension-type headache or migraine are not referred for imaging if they do not have signs or symptoms of secondary headache.
  • Statement 4. People with migraine are advised to take combination therapy with a triptan and either a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or paracetamol.
  • Statement 5. Raising public and professional awareness.



[1] Migraine Trust (2013) Key facts and figures about migraine.