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Acute pharmacotherapy of migraine, tension-type headache, and cluster headache


In most migraine patients acute therapy is needed. Migraine can be treated either with specific drugs, the triptans and ergot alkaloids, or with NSAIDs. Triptans are a major step foreward in migraine therapy. The therapeutic gain for headache relief is 50% for subcutaneous sumatriptan whereas it is 30-40% for most oral triptans. After oral triptans sustained pain free is only 30%. There is thus still ample room for improvement of acute therapy in migraine. For tension-type headache there is no specific therapy and it is treated with NSAIDs. Only 17-32% become pain free after these drugs. For attacks of cluster headache oxygen and subcutaneous sumatriptan can be used. Intranasal triptans can be an alternative.

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Correspondence to Peer Tfelt-Hansen.

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Tfelt-Hansen, P. Acute pharmacotherapy of migraine, tension-type headache, and cluster headache. J Headache Pain 8, 127–134 (2007).

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