Corticosteroids (such as prednisone or
dexamethasone) are referred to as "transitional" medicines for the treatment of
cluster headaches, because they are sometimes used to
break a cycle of cluster headaches. They are paired with medicines that stop
(abortive) or prevent (prophylactic) additional headaches during a headache
cycle. Often, within 2 to 4 days after starting treatment with corticosteroids,
you will become headache-free. By the time the corticosteroids are
stopped—their use is often tapered within 6 to 8 weeks of starting and then
discontinued—the medicines used to prevent cluster headaches, such as
verapamil, have taken effect.
Corticosteroids are not used over a
long period of time because they can cause serious side effects,
High blood sugar
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
PeaceHealth endeavors to provide comprehensive health care information, however some topics in this database describe services and procedures not offered by our providers or within our facilities because they do not comply with, nor are they condoned by, the ethics policies of our organization.