Headache - Effective Treatments

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What kinds of treatments have been effective for your headache?

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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 following headaches 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;
  • injection of lidocaine, a local anesthetic, into the nostril;
  • dihydroergotamine (DHE, Migranal), a medication that causes blood vessels to constrict; and
  • caffeine.

Prevention of the next cluster headache may include the following:

  • calcium channel blockers (for example, verapamil [Calan, Verelan, Verelan PM, Isoptin, Covera-HS], 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).
Return to Headache

See what others are saying

Comment from: always in pain, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 22

I have suffered from headaches for 20 years now. The only thing I have found that works at all is Maxalt. I also took Depakote on a daily basis, which helped to keep my headaches at a minimum. When my Maxalt doesn't work, which is about once a year, I end up in the emergency room. In those cases, the only thing that gets rid of the headache immediately is a morphine IV.

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Comment from: Barb, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 22

I have had migraine headaches for almost 50 years, and I finally just recently found a treatment that works for me. My doctor put me on gabapentin (Neurontin). It really has helped. Since I've been on this medication (probably about five years), I have had only one migraine.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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