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What can you use to treat cluster headaches if triptans don't work for you?

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If you can’t use these treatments, or if they don’t work for you, your doctor may suggest:

  • Octreotide: This drug is a lab-made form of somatostatin, a growth hormone. You take it through an IV in your vein.
  • Lidocaine: This is an anesthetic, or a "numbing" drug. You spray it up your nose on the painful side of your head.
  • Ergot alkaloids: These meds are tablets that dissolve under your tongue. You need to take them at the first sign of a cluster in order for them to work. There's another form of this drug called DHE that you usually take through an IV or nasal spray. Much like trptans, DHE should also be avoided if you have certainheart of blood vessel problems.

SOURCES:

National Headache Foundation: "Cluster Headaches."

Ashkenazi, A. , February 2011. Headache

UpToDate: "Cluster headache: Treatment and prognosis."

MedlinePlus: "Verapamil."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 25, 2020

SOURCES:

National Headache Foundation: "Cluster Headaches."

Ashkenazi, A. , February 2011. Headache

UpToDate: "Cluster headache: Treatment and prognosis."

MedlinePlus: "Verapamil."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 25, 2020

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How does verapamil (Calan, Isoptin) prevent cluster headaches?

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