Therapeutic ReviewsCluster Headache PharmacotherapyMcGeeney, Brian EAuthor Information Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts. Address for correspondence: Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, C329, Boston, MA 02118. E-mail: [email protected] American Journal of Therapeutics: July-August 2005 - Volume 12 - Issue 4 - p 351-358 doi: 10.1097/01.mjt.0000174351.20389.99 Buy Metrics Abstract Cluster headache is a well-known primary headache syndrome with a prevalence of about 5/10,000 of the adult population, making it much less common than migraine. Diagnostic terms such as histaminic cephalalgia, Horton's headache and ciliary neuralgia have been used for what is now known as cluster headache. This disorder can be differentiated from migraine by clinical and pathophysiologic features. Cluster headache also exhibits a differing therapeutic response to medications when compared with migraine. The pharmacologic treatment of cluster is reviewed in this article. In contrast to migraine, men are 3-4 times more likely to be diagnosed with cluster headache than women, and the cluster headache population is older. Cluster attacks are known for their brief intense unilateral excruciating pain during susceptible periods known as cluster periods, which typically last weeks. Attack-free months generally follow. Pain is experienced in the distribution of the trigeminal nerve, with unilateral autonomic features. Most patients are successfully managed with medical therapy. Medication management can be divided into abortive treatments for an ongoing attack and prophylactic treatment. Prophylaxis aims to induce and maintain a remission. There are a variety of different medications for abortive and prophylactic therapy, accompanied by a variable amount of evidence-based medicine. For patients refractory to medical management, interventional procedures are available as a last resort. Most procedures are directed against the sensory trigeminal nerve and associated ganglia, eg, anesthetizing the sphenopalatine ganglion. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.