Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Are There New Treatments for Cluster Headaches?

Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010 10:17 AM

Question: Are there any new treatments for cluster headaches besides Imitrex?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Yes, there are indeed many treatments available for cluster headache. In fact high-flow oxygen therapy (obtained by a rebreather mask with oxygen flows of 7 to 10 liters per minute) for seven to 10 minutes is now regarded as the first-line immediate treatment.

While triptan drugs such as Imitrex can be used, there are many options now available: inhalation, oral, nasal, and sublingual. Injectibles are, of course, available. There is a specific de-emphasis on the use of oral narcotic medications.

For a good review of options go here and look under cluster headache. There are specific warnings on drug interactions for those who do use triptan drugs. You should be aware of the potential for a serious condition called serotonin syndrome that occurs when triptans are, for example, added to serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Many antidepressants and herbal products contain traces of similar chemicals. Be aware that this condition has also been associated with the use of many popular nonprescription medications and vitamin supplements containing L-tryptophan.

© HealthDay

   
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