|ergotamine with caffeine
Dihydroergotamine can also be given through a vein (intravenous, or IV) or by an injection
in the muscle (intramuscular, or IM) for emergency treatment of a severe
How It Works
Ergotamine narrows blood vessels in the
head (vasoconstriction), which relieves pain by reducing pressure on
pain-sensitive structures in the head and scalp that may be associated with
cluster headaches. This drug may also affect certain brain
chemicals that affect how a person feels pain.
Why It Is Used
Dihydroergotamine and ergotamine are used to stop a cluster headache. Ergotamine may also be used to prevent cluster headaches during a cluster cycle.
How Well It Works
When taken at bedtime or several
hours before going to sleep, ergotamine is especially useful for preventing
headaches at night.1
The nasal spray form of dihydroergotamine can help reduce the pain of a cluster headache when used at the first sign you are getting one.2
which is generally given as a shot, may provide rapid relief of a headache. A
person may be able to give his or her own shot.
Side effects are more common with high
doses and may include:
Nausea and vomiting.
- Cold, clammy
hands and feet (due to narrowing of blood vessels).
Dizziness, numbness, vague feeling of discomfort or
- Bitter or foul taste in the mouth or throat (nasal spray
- Irritation or inflammation in the nose (nasal spray
Ergotamine may be combined with caffeine or other medicines
to help control nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of the
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects.
(Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
To treat a cluster headache that
has already begun, ergotamine must be used as early as possible for best
results. The sooner you treat the headache, the less painful it may be.
If you are taking ergotamine, be sure to follow your
doctor's instructions on when and how often to take it. Overuse of
ergotamine can lead to a
Ergotamine should not be used with serotonin receptor
agonists (triptans), such as sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, or
Ergotamine should not be used to treat headaches in
children. And it should not be used in women who are pregnant or who
are thinking about becoming pregnant.
Also, ergotamine should not
be used by people who have:
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Ropper AH, Samuels MA (2009). Cluster headache section of Headache and other craniofacial pains. In Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology, 9th ed., pp. 174-176. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Capobianco DJ, Dodick DW (2006). Diagnosis and
treatment of cluster headache. Seminars in Neurology,