- A Visual Guide to Migraine Headaches Slideshow
- Headache and Migraine Triggers Slideshow
- Take the Migraines Quiz
- Headaches FAQs
- Patient Comments: Headache - Effective Treatments
- Patient Comments: Headache - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Headache - Remedies
- Patient Comments: Headache - Causes
- Patient Comments: Headache - Nausea
- Find a local Neurologist in your town
- Headache definition and facts
- What is a headache?
- How are headaches classified?
- What are primary headaches?
- What are secondary headaches?
- What are cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches?
- 17 types of headaches
- What causes headaches?
- What causes tension headaches?
- What are the signs and symptoms of tension headaches?
- How are tension headaches diagnosed?
- How are tension headaches treated?
- What causes cluster headaches?
- What are the symptoms of cluster headaches?
- How are cluster headaches diagnosed?
- How are cluster headaches treated?
- Can cluster headaches be prevented?
- What diseases cause secondary headaches?
- How are secondary headaches diagnosed?
- What are the exams and tests for secondary headaches?
- When should I seek medical care for a headache?
- How do you get rid of a headache? Are home remedies effective for headaches?
Quick GuideMigraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
How are cluster headaches treated?
Cluster headaches may be very difficult to treat, and it may take trial and error to find the specific treatment regimen that will work for each patient. Since the headache recurs daily, there are two treatment needs. The pain of the first episode needs to be controlled, and the headaches that follow need to be prevented.
Initial treatment options may include one or more of the following:
- inhalation of high concentrations of oxygen (though this will not work if the headache is well established);
- injection of triptan medications, like, sumatriptan (Imitrex), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and rizatriptan (Maxalt) which are common migraine medications;
- Spraying or dripping lidocaine, a local anesthetic, into the nostril;
- dihydroergotamine (DHE, Migranal), a medication that causes blood vessels to constrict; and
Prevention of the next cluster headache may include
- calcium channel blockers, for example, verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Verelan PM, Isoptin, Covera-HS) and diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac);
- prednisone (Deltasone, Liquid Pred);
- antidepressant medications;
- lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); and
- antiseizure medications including valproic acid, divalproex (Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene, Depacon), and topiramate (Topamax).
Can cluster headaches be prevented?
Since cluster headache episodes may be spaced years apart, and since the first headache of a new cluster episode can't be predicted, daily medication may not be warranted.
Lifestyle changes may help minimize the risk of a cluster headache flare. Stopping smoking and minimizing alcohol may prevent future episodes of cluster headache.