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Antiseizure Medicines for Cluster Headaches

Antiseizure medicines are sometimes used to prevent the frequency or recurrence of cluster headaches, which are cycles of painful, one-sided headaches. Antiseizure medicines most often prescribed for cluster headaches include topiramate and valproate. These medicines are usually tried with another medicine to prevent cluster headaches.

It is not clear exactly how antiseizure medicines work to reduce cluster headaches or migraines. Antiseizure medicines are usually taken daily in small doses and then gradually increased until your symptoms subside or the side effects become intolerable.

Common side effects include:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on antiseizure medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who take antiseizure medicine should be watched closely for warning signs of suicide. People who take antiseizure medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a doctor.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerColin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last RevisedJanuary 27, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 27, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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