Medicines may stop a cluster headache after it starts and prevent more headaches from occurring. Finding the right medicine can take some time. You may need a combination of medicines to effectively treat your cluster headaches.
Treatments most often used to stop cluster headaches include:
Medicines that prevent cluster headaches during a cluster period include:
You must take these medicines every day during a cycle of headaches, even on days when you don't get a headache.
Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, usually don't relieve the severe pain of cluster headaches. Also, prescription narcotic pain medicines are not recommended for cluster headaches.
When a cluster headache occurs, it is important to treat it as early as possible with the medicine your doctor has recommended. The sooner you treat the headache, the less painful it may be.
The choice of medicine may depend on the time of day when your headaches tend to occur. Some people may need a combination of two or three medicines. Keeping track of your symptoms can help your doctor determine the proper medicine. You can keep track by using a headache diary (What is a PDF document?).
If you don't get headaches often, you may only need to take medicines after the headaches begin. If you get headaches often, you may need to take medicines daily during a cluster period to prevent a future headache or reduce the number of headaches in a cycle.
If your headaches become more severe and medicines aren't working, let your doctor know. You may need to try a different medicine or a combination of medicines. You may also need to be referred to a hospital or headache clinic for more intensive treatment.
|American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education (ACHE)|
|19 Mantua Road|
|Mount Royal, NJ 08061|
The American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education (ACHE) is a nonprofit partnership between health professionals and headache sufferers. ACHE provides resources and tools to health care professionals to help them help their headache patients. This website has many educational resources for doctors, patients, families, schools, and employers. Resources include newsletters, articles on headaches, tools for both patients and doctors, and lists of certified headache doctors.
|National Headache Foundation (NHF)|
|820 North Orleans|
|Chicago, IL 60610|
The National Headache Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to three major goals: educating the public that headaches are serious disorders and that sufferers need understanding and continuity of care; promoting research into potential headache causes and treatments; and serving as an information resource for sufferers, their families, and doctors who treat them. The NHF can provide lists of local doctors specializing in headache treatment. It also has a monthly newsletter and many pamphlets on a variety of topics related to the different headache syndromes.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology|
|Last Revised||January 27, 2012|
Last Revised: January 27, 2012
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.