Nasal Spray May Ease Cluster Headaches
Study Shows Migraine Drug Zomig May Treat Cluster Headaches, Too
Aug. 28, 2007 -- The prescription nasal spray Zomig, which is used to treat
migraines, may ease cluster headaches.
That's according to a new study published in today's edition of the journal
Cluster headache, which is a
severe type of headache disorder, affects less than 1% of the public,
note the researchers, who included Alan Rapoport, MD, of The New England Center
for Headache in Stamford, Conn.
Rapoport and colleagues studied 52 adults aged 23-65 (average age: 45) who
had cluster headaches.
Rapoport's team gave each patient a nasal spray. Some patients got sprays
containing 5 milligrams of Zomig. Others got a 10-milligram Zomig spray. For
comparison, a third group of patients got a spray containing no medicine.
The patients didn't know whether their nasal spray contained Zomig. They
were told to use their nasal spray when a cluster headache began.
Patients reported how long their cluster headaches lasted. Both doses of
Zomig trumped the placebo.
For instance, half an hour after cluster headaches started, headache relief
was reported by 63% of patients using the 10-milligram Zomig spray, 50% of
those using the 5-milligram Zomig spray, and 30% of those using the placebo
Patients using the Zomig nasal sprays were more likely than those using the
placebo spray to report side effects. Those side effects -- which included
discomfort in the nasal cavity, bad taste, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, and
tightness in the throat, chest, and neck -- were typical of Zomig's class of
drugs, according to the researchers.
Zomig isn't approved by the FDA to treat cluster headaches, Rapoport and
colleagues warn. They point out that the only drug currently approved by the
FDA to treat cluster headaches is injectable Imitrex, which is also used to
Rapoport's study was funded by AstraZeneca, the drug company that makes