New Treatment for Cluster Headaches

“"You can’'t concentrate, you can't’ focus, I probably couldn’'t even dial 911 if I had to, you can’'t concentrate, you run around like a rat in the cage,” says cluster headache sufferer, " Stephen Coutsourakis. The unbearable pain of cluster headaches makes Stephen want to jump out of his skin. It'’s piercing, completely debilitating, and can truly paralyze its victim from functioning. “"Cluster headache has been nicknamed suicide headache where people have actually wanted to commit suicide, the pain is so intense,” " reports Dr. Brian Grosberg of Montefiore Headache Center. Cluster headaches are characterized by attacks of excruciating pain that typically involve one side of the head and last between 15 and 180 minutes. Because the pain is so severe, rapid and effective treatments are needed. Now, according to new data published in JAMA’s Archives of Neurology, Zolmitriptan nasal spray, used to treat migraines, may also be safe and effective in treating cluster headaches.

"Because the headache peaks so rapidly we don't have many treatments to end up aborting the headache, some of the treatments can include oxygen therapy where people would end up making the mask and breathe in seven to nine liters of oxygen," says Dr. Grosberg. Within 10 to 15 minutes of administering Zolmitriptan nasal spray, the headache is aborted bringing incredible relief to patients.

 There are studies that show that cluster headaches are often misdiagnosed or under diagnosed and it is very often misinterpreted as a sinus headache because people can end up having tearing or redness of the eyes and cluster periods can occur during allergy season, so people get mistaken allergy shots for it. "If people are suffering from head or face pain that is so excruciating ,where people have to pace back and forth and can't stay still, then it is not a sinus headache," explains Dr. Grosberg.

 And while migraines typically affect women three times more often than men, cluster headaches affect more men than women. Zolmitriptan nasal spray may cause some patients to experience an unusual taste, nausea, dry mouth, nose discomfort, sweating, weakness, dizziness, or drowsiness. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.


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