Skip to content

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size

Corticosteroids for Cluster Headaches - Topic Overview

Corticosteroids (such as prednisone or dexamethasone) are referred to as "transitional" medicines for the treatment of cluster headaches, because they are sometimes used to break a cycle of cluster headaches. They are paired with medicines that stop (abortive) or prevent (prophylactic) additional headaches during a headache cycle. Often, within 2 to 4 days after starting treatment with corticosteroids, you will become headache-free. By the time the corticosteroids are stopped—their use is often tapered within 6 to 8 weeks of starting and then discontinued—the medicines used to prevent cluster headaches, such as verapamil, have taken effect.

Corticosteroids are not used over a long period of time because they can cause serious side effects, including:

Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

Weather as a Headache and Migraine Trigger

Headache specialists are still unraveling the mysteries of migraines and other headaches. Most believe a combination of factors, from genetics to neurovascular imbalances in the brain, play a role. But what role could weather play? One leading evolutionary theory is that getting a headache is a protective mechanism against adverse environmental stressors. The theory goes that headache pain would cause someone to seek a safer, more hospitable environment. The fact that changes in weather and...

Read the Weather as a Headache and Migraine Trigger article > >

  • Weight gain.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood sugar levels.
  • Cataracts.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Stomach ulcers.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Corticosteroids for Cluster Headaches Topics

    Today on WebMD

    woman receiving acupuncture
    14 alternative methods for migraine relief.
    woman with migraine
    Get the truth about migraines.
     
    headache in the bedroom
    Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
    desert heat
    12 surprising headache triggers.
     
    woman with migraine
    Quiz
    drinking coffee
    Article
     
    Migraines Headaches Basics
    Article
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
     
    young woman with migraine
    Articles
    spraying perfume
    Article
     
    man with a headache
    Article
    headache in the bedroom
    Article