Preventing Chronic Cluster Headaches
Several prescription medications have been successful in treating cluster headaches during a cluster period.
- Methysergide: Methysergide, which is also used to prevent migraine, is believed to prevent cluster headaches by constricting blood vessels and reducing inflammation. It has serious side effects, however, and can be used only for brief periods, generally for the length of a cluster period.
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids, particularly prednisone and methylprednisolone, are used for short-term cluster therapy, due to potential serious side effects with longer-term use.
- Lithium Carbonate: Lithium carbonate has been found to be effective in treating chronic cluster headaches, possibly due to its ability to its impact on the electrical system within the brain.
- Calcium Channel Blockers: Calcium channel blockers, typically used in treating cardiovascular conditions, are used to treat cluster headache episodes and chronic cluster headaches. They may work by blocking the release of neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain that stimulate nerve cells) involved in causing pain.