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Triptans Helpful for Cluster Headache

Treatment options for the severely painful condition called cluster headache are limited. Because triptans are used successfully to treat migraine attacks, researchers from Oxford, England, believed they might also be useful for cluster headache. To determine their effectiveness, they analyzed six well-controlled studies of triptans for the acute treatment of cluster headache episodes.

In total, 454 participants took zolmitriptan, 219 took sumatriptan, and 326 received a placebo. The triptans were found to be better than placebo for headache relief and pain-free response, though more adverse events were experienced with the triptans. The researchers concluded that “zolmitriptan and sumatriptan are effective in the acute treatment of cluster headaches and may provide a useful treatment option, potentially offering convenience over oxygen therapy and a better safety and tolerability profile than ergotamine. Non-oral routes of administration are likely to provide better and more rapid responses.”

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