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New Treatment Explored for Cluster Headaches
Date:8/30/2007

Migraine nasal spray showed promising results in small study

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The severely painful type of headache called cluster headaches respond to a medication frequently used for migraines, a new study found.

The research shows that zolmitriptan nasal spray -- part of a family of migraine drugs called triptans -- can reduce pain within 10 minutes to 30 minutes, depending upon the dosage, according to Dr. Alan M. Rapoport, the study's lead author.

"People with cluster headaches have such severe headaches they can't stand it. It's the worse type of headache that we know of. It comes on very quickly, so you need to have a medication that works quickly and is easy to use," said Rapoport, who conducted the research when he was director of The New England Center for Headache in Stamford, Conn.

With a spray of zolmitriptan in one nostril (5 milligrams) or two nostrils (10 milligrams), "We've shown [it] will rapidly relieve cluster headaches in a significant number of people," Rapoport said.

The study found that 50 percent of the patients using the lower dose and 63 percent using the higher dose experienced pain reduction within 30 minutes. That compared to only 30 percent of the study participants receiving placebos. At 30 minutes, 46.9 percent of the patients using the high dose and 38.5 percent using the low dose were pain-free.

The new findings were published in the Aug. 28 issue of the journal Neurology. They confirm similar findings in a European study published last year in the Archives of Neurology. Both studies were funded by AstraZeneca, the maker of the zolmitriptan nasal spray.

Cluster headaches are "one-sided" with pain that can "peak" in five minutes and remain severe for 30 minutes to 180 minutes. While they affect less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, they occur much more frequently in men than women, the study authors said.'/>"/>

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