Cluster Headache (cont.)
Self-Care at Home for Cluster Headaches
You can treat cluster headache at home under a doctor's care. Treatment involves 2 types of care, and many people require both at the same time:
- Preventive treatment: This includes ongoing use of medications proven effective in holding off headaches or limiting their number, even when you are not experiencing headaches. Examples are drugs like beta-blockers (propranolol [Inderal], atenolol [Tenormin]), anticonvulsants (topiramate [Topamax], divalproex [Depakote], carbamazepine [Tegretol]), tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline [Elavil], nortriptyline [Aventyl]), and calcium channel blockers (verapamil [Covera]). Though widely used, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressant (fluoxetine [Prozac], paroxetine [Paxil], escitalopram [Lexapro]) is relatively ineffective for headache.
- Abortive treatment: This is designed to stop a headache once it has begun. Medications include ergotamine (Bellamine, Cafergot), acetaminophen-isometheptene-dichloralphenazone (Midrin), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45 Injection, Migranal Nasal Spray), and more recently, the drugs of the triptan family (almotriptan [Axert], eletriptan [Relpax], frovatriptan [Frova], naratriptan [Amerge], rizatriptan [Maxalt], sumatriptan [Imitrex], zolmitriptan [Zomig]).
- In addition, many medications used to treat migraine headache (Excedrin Migraine Pain Reliever/Pain Reliever Aid, oxygen, prednisone [Deltasone]) can also be used for cluster headache.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/4/2016
Joseph Carcione Jr, DO, MBA
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Must Read Articles Related to Cluster Headache
5 Types of Headaches
There are five main types of headaches including migraines, cluster headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches, and mixed headaches. Knowing what kind of hea...learn more >>
Cluster Headache FAQs
Cluster headaches are uncommon, but they come in groups and are characterized by intense pain, usually focused around one or both eyes. The cause of cluster hea...learn more >>
Migraine and Cluster Headache Medications
Migraines and cluster headaches are severe recurrent headaches. Medications to treat them fall under a number of different categories. These include triptans an...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cluster Headache: