Cluster Headaches

Taking medications to prevent cluster headaches before they occur is typically the most effective treatment for cluster headaches. These medications include:

  • Calcium Channel Blockers — Calcium channel blockers, such as Verapamil, which relax the muscles in the walls of your blood vessels, may help prevent cluster headaches.
  • Anti-seizure Medications — Medications used to control seizures in conditions such as epilepsy may be prescribed to help control cluster headaches. These include divalproex topiramate and gabapentin.
  • Lithium — This medication may help prevent chronic and episodic cluster headaches.
  • Corticosteroids — These anti-inflammatory drugs, such as prednisone, may provide relief from headache pain.

If your doctor prescribes medication, be sure to ask:

  • How often the medication should be taken
  • If the medication should be taken with meals or on an empty stomach
  • What to do if pain or other symptoms persist

  • Hear Dr. Peter Goadsby, neurologist and headache specialist, talk about "hope for headaches" and the unnecessary frustration of patients who have endured misdiagnoses and missed opportunities for relief.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Headache Center
2330 Post St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 353-8393
Fax: (415) 353-9539
Appointment information

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