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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.

From: Cluster Headache Treatment WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Headache Foundation: "Cluster Headaches."

Ashkenazi, A. , February 2011. Headache

UpToDate: "Cluster headache: Treatment and prognosis."

MedlinePlus: "Verapamil."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 28, 2018

SOURCES:

National Headache Foundation: "Cluster Headaches."

Ashkenazi, A. , February 2011. Headache

UpToDate: "Cluster headache: Treatment and prognosis."

MedlinePlus: "Verapamil."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 28, 2018

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How is verapamil (Calan, Isoptin) used to prevent cluster headaches?

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