Treatment of cluster headaches

Treating Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches aren't life threatening, but they can cause significant suffering and severely affect your quality of life, so it's important to see someone who is familiar with the known effective treatments for the condition.

The headaches can't be treated with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol, as these are too slow to take effect. You'll need to have one or more specialist treatments instead.

Three main treatments are available to relieve pain when taken soon after a cluster headache starts. These are:

  • Sumatriptan injections, which you can give yourself up to twice a day
  • Sumatriptan or zolmitriptan nasal spray, which can be used if you would prefer not to have injections
  • Oxygen therapy, where you breathe pure oxygen through a mask read more about Oxygen treatment, home

These treatments usually relieve the pain of a cluster headache within 15-30 minutes.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 25 Jan 2018