Medical Definition of Histamine cephalalgia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Histamine cephalalgia: A distinctive syndrome of headaches, also known as cluster headache or migrainous neuralgia. The common pattern of cluster headache is termed "episodic" and is characterized by 1-3 short attacks of pain each day around the eyes, clustered over a stretch of 1-2 months, followed by a pain- free breathing period (average: a year). The other main pattern of cluster headache is termed "chronic" (and is also known as chronic migrainous neuralgia). It may come out of the blue or emerge several years after an episodic pattern. It is characterized by the absence of sustained periods of remission. The episodic and acute forms of cluster headache may transform into the other, so it is clear that they are merely different-appearing patterns of one and the same disease. On the other hand, cluster headache looks different and distinct from migraine-for example, propranolol is effective for migraine but not cluster headache while lithium benefits cluster headache syndrome but not migraine-although the mechanisms underlying cluster headache and migraine may have a degree of commonality.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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