Decreased Mood and Cognitive Function Linked With Cluster Headache

A new study suggests people who suffer from cluster headache experience increased memory issues, more disturbances of mood, and a poorer quality of life than people without the disorder, considered to be one of the most painful headache disorders.

Researchers led by Mariam Torkamani, BSc, at the Cognitive Motor Neuroscience Group at the University College of London, recently conducted a small study to learn more about the daily effects of cluster headache, which is studied less than migraine, but causes such intense pain some sufferers resort to suicide. Continue Reading

Pediatric Migraineurs Reap Little Benefit From Adult Migraine Medications

Children and teens are frequently prescribed the same migraine medications as adults, but two new studies show that medications to prevent and treat migraine in the pediatric population frequently fall short. The results of the studies, which appeared in JAMA Pediatrics last month, also showed that placebos bring considerable benefit to young migraineurs.

In a study that focused on migraine prevention, Khalil El-Chammas, MD, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and colleagues reviewed the results of 21 trials to determine the most effective medication for reducing migraine frequency and severity. The treatments included anti-epileptic medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, calcium channel blockers, blood pressure medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Continue Reading


Prozac (fluoxetine) is an antidepressant affecting serotonin. It is unlike the older tricyclic types such as Elavil® (amitriptyline). It has not been shown to be effective in reducing migraine frequency. It is the earliest compound approved in the group known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Several newer compounds in the class include Paxil® (paroxetine HCI), Zoloft® (sertraline HCI), and Lexapro®.

MAO (Monoamine Oxidase) Inhibitors

MAO (Monoamine Oxidase) inhibitors are a type of antidepressant medication. They are a type of mood elevator that slows down the metabolism of catecholamines, thus preserving them. It is suspected that both MAO inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants may not only relieve the depression but may also raise the pain threshold. They are occasionally used for patients with difficult headache problems.

Headache patients taking MAO inhibitors must be very careful to avoid foods containing tyramine and all alcoholic beverages since a blood pressure crisis may arise.