New daily persistent headache (NDPH) can best be described as the rapid development (over less than 3 days) of an unrelenting headache. Most sufferers can recall the exact day the headache started and have experienced daily headache since that time.
NDPH typically occurs in a person with no past history of headache. NDPH does not evolve from migraine or episodic tension type headache but begins as a new headache. Some evidence has shown that NDPH may be the result of a viral infection. It is uncertain at this time whether medication overuse creates an increased risk for development of NDPH. The headache of NDPH can have associated features of migraine (such as sensitivity to light or sensitivity to noise or mild nausea) or tension-type headache (mild to moderate, non-throbbing pain on both sides of the head).
In some cases, NDPH resolves on its own within several months. Other cases persist and are more refractory. NDPH commonly does not respond to traditional options used to prevent or treat other headache varieties. Some agents that have been tried for prevention include the anti-seizure medications, such as Topamax (topiramate) and Neurontin (gabapentin). Caution is needed when using analgesics due to the frequency of pain. Overuse of analgesics can lead to rebound headache. Many specialists will try agents commonly used in treatment and prevention of migraine, when addressing NDPH.