Student pharmacist characteristics and management of headache

David R. Axon, Abigail Dawid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Headache is a prevalent, debilitating condition that affects 50% of adults globally. Little is known about headache among student pharmacists. This study describes the characteristics and management of headache among student pharmacists as well as implications for pharmacy education. Methods: Data were collected on headache characteristics, symptoms, triggers, impact, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological management strategies using an online questionnaire sent to all student pharmacists at one United States college of pharmacy in April 2021. Students who completed the questionnaire and reported having headache were included. Data were compared between graduating class years using chi-square and Kruskall-Wallis tests as appropriate. Results: A total of 111 students were included in the study. The most commonly reported headache characteristics were throbbing and pressure-like, moderate intensity, and < four hours duration. The most common symptoms were neck or shoulder pain and mood or personality changes. The strongest headache trigger was sleep quantity. The most commonly used pharmacologic strategy was caffeine, and the most commonly used non-pharmacologic strategies were rest or sleep and drinking water. There were no significant differences between graduating class years for any variable except amount of screen time. Conclusions: Student pharmacists with headache in this study had characteristics, symptoms, and triggers of headaches in keeping with existing knowledge and used a variety of pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain management strategies. Headache posed a burden for students, suggesting there may be a need for greater student support despite their perception that headache had a low impact on their grades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1169-1176
Number of pages8
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Headache
  • Management
  • Pain management
  • Prevalence
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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