Steroid injections may combat cluster headaches

PATIENTS experiencing  frequent daily attacks of cluster headache could find relief in suboccipital steroid injections (SSI) as an add-on therapy, researchers say.

SSI targeting the greater occipital nerve has been proposed as an alternative to oral steroids in treating patients with cluster headaches.

In a 90-day trial in 28 patients with episodic and 15 patients with chronic cluster headaches at the Emergency Headache Centre in Paris, researchers found that 20 out of 21 patients receiving the steroid injection had a
mean two or fewer daily attacks compared with controls.

The patients – who were aged 18–65 years – also had fewer attacks in the first 15 days of the study if they received the steroid compared to the control group, but rates were similar by day 30.

Oral steroids were not permitted in the study but acute treatment with sumatriptan or oxygen was allowed, concomitant with verapamil for