The key to treating cluster is fast relief. Oxygen and prescriptions that can be absorbed quickly are the first line of defense.
- Oxygen: Breathing pure oxygen for up to 15 minutes provides considerable relief to most cluster headache sufferers. Raising blood oxygen levels relaxes constricted blood vessels, providing quick relief. It is the most common treatment for cluster headache.
- Prescription Medications: Ergotamine tartrate (also used in migraine treatment) taken under the tongue to speed absorption is used to treat existing headaches, as is an injection of sumatriptan (also used in migraine treatment). Nasal applications of lidocaine, a local anesthetic, have shown promise in several studies. Nasal applications of butorphanol, a powerful painkiller, have also successfully treated the pain of cluster headache.