Zolmitriptan Nasal Spray Effective for Cluster Headache

Headache relief at 30 minutes is 62 percent for 10-mg dose, and 21 percent with placebo

MONDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The severe pain caused by acute cluster headaches can be managed with zolmitriptan nasal spray, researchers report in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Elizabeth Cittadini, M.D., of The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, U.K., and colleagues reported the results of 69 patients who treated three of their cluster headaches with placebo, 5 mg, or 10 mg of inhaled zolmitriptan in a randomized, double-blind crossover study. Pain reduction 30 minutes from the start of the attack was the main end point.

Twenty-seven patents had relief with 5 mg (40 percent) and 38 reported relief with 10 mg of zolmitriptan nasal spray (62 percent) at 30 minutes, compared with 14 patients who used placebo (21 percent). Eighteen patients had no pain with 5 mg and 31 patients had no pain with 10 mg of zolmitriptan at 30 minutes compared with 10 patients who used placebo.

"The data provide evidence that zolmitriptan nasal spray can be used as a first-line abortive therapy, along with sumatriptan nasal spray or inhaled oxygen, in the management of cluster headaches," the authors conclude. "Given the long-term safety data for subcutaneous sumatriptan, it seems unlikely that a specific problem will emerge with zolmitriptan in cluster headache."

AstraZeneca supported this work but did not initiate, design, or analyze the study; interpret the data; or have any role in the writing of the manuscript.

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