New treatment effective for most severe kind of headache

Aug 27, 2007

A nasal spray is safe and effective at rapidly treating cluster headaches, which are considered to be the most painful kind of headache with few treatment options, according to a study published in the August 28, 2007, issue of Neurology.

The double-blind trial involved 52 people with cluster headache who used five or 10 milligrams of zolmitriptan nasal spray or placebo to treat 151 separate cluster headache attacks. The study found 63 percent of people treated with the drug at the higher dose reported headache relief at 30 minutes, compared to 50 percent of people taking the lower dose of zolmitriptan nasal spray and 30 percent in the placebo group.

“This is a significant finding and the main endpoint of our study,” said study author Alan M. Rapoport, MD, with The New England Center for Headache in Stamford, CT, and Clinical Professor of Neurology at The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles. Rapoport is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “The 10 milligram dose worked as quickly as 10 minutes in some patients.”

“Cluster headache is an extremely severe headache disorder with enormous unmet treatment needs,” said Rapoport. “Few medications for cluster headache have been systematically tested, and only one, which involves an injection of sumatriptan, has been FDA approved.”

Cluster headache is relatively rare, occurring in less than one-tenth of one percent of the U.S. population. Men are three to four times more likely to suffer from cluster headaches than women. The pain is considered to be the most severe of the primary headache disorders and often peaks within five minutes and remains severe for about one and up to three hours. The pain is usually associated with neurological findings such as a droopy eyelid, small pupil, red and tearing eye, and stuffed and running nostril. All of the symptoms usually occur on the same side as the headache pain.

“Because a cluster headache attack builds up to a crescendo within five to 15 minutes, treatment must be rapid and offer significant relief,” said Rapoport. “While the FDA has not approved zolmitriptan nasal spray for use in cluster headaches, it may someday be considered a first-line therapy.” Side effects were mild and no serious adverse events were reported during the study.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: Unprecedented germ diversity found in remote Amazonian tribe

Related Stories

United States, China team explore energy harvesting

6 hours ago

Six authors have described their work in harvesting energy in a paper titled "Ultrathin, Rollable, Paper-Based Triboelectric Nanogenerator for Acoustic Energy Harvesting and Self-Powered Sound Recording." ...

China's struggle for water security

8 hours ago

Way back in 1999, before he became China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao warned that water scarcity posed one of the greatest threats to the "survival of the nation".

Canada revises upward CO2 emission data since 1990

8 hours ago

Canada revised its greenhouse gas emission data from 1990 to 2013 in a report Friday, showing it had higher carbon dioxide discharges each year, and a doubling of emissions from its oil sands.

Recommended for you

Bacteria play only a minor role stomach ulcers in cattle

Apr 17, 2015

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna investigated whether stomach ulcers in cattle are related to the presence of certain bacteria. For their study, they analysed bacteria present in ...

New research reveals how our skeleton is a lot like our brain

Apr 17, 2015

Researchers from Monash University and St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne have used mathematical modelling combined with advanced imaging technology to calculate, for the first time, the number and connectivity ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.