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.

Two forms of oxygen therapy may stop the pain for those who suffer from migraine and cluster headaches, according to a recent review of nine clinical trials. Oxygen therapy takes two forms: hyperbaric, where patients breathe 100% oxygen in a pressurized and sealed chamber, and normobaric, where patients breathe 100% oxygen under normal pressure from a portable oxygen unit via a face mask. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is administered in a hospital while normobaric therapy can be administered at home.

Oxygen treatment of headaches was first mentioned in literature in 1939. Mr. Charles E. Rhein, Linde Air Products Co., reported to Dr. Alvarez at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN the successful treatment of severe "migraine" attacks by breathing pure oxygen. Subsequently, Dr. Alvarez noted that the treatment with 100 percent oxygen at a flow of six to eight liters a minute would often produce relief. Sometimes patients would not be able to obtain relief with this treatment, whereas at other times they would. In 1940, Dr. Alvarez reported the treatment of over 100 persons suffering from headache attacks. They were treated with oxygen with a nasal type of mask and a flow of six to eight liters a minute. He found that 80 percent of "migrainous" headaches were completely or significantly relieved. Dr. Alvarez also found that patients with other types of headaches were often helped through the use of oxygen inhalation and that the prompt institution of therapy had a better chance of resulting in relief than if it was delayed. This work was much less rigorous than that done recently.