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Subcutaneous octreotide in cluster headache: Randomized placebo-controlled double-blind crossover study



Current practical evidence-based acute treatments of cluster headache are limited to subcutaneous and intranasal formulations of sumatriptan, and oxygen. Two small randomized, double-blind trials suggested efficacy of somatostatin in cluster headache. We sought to determine whether octreotide, a somatostatin analog, is effective in the abortive treatment of acute cluster headache. Patients with episodic and chronic cluster headache, as defined by the International Headache Society, were recruited to a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study. Patients were instructed to treat two attacks of at least moderate pain severity, with at least a 24-hour break, using subcutaneous octreotide μg or matching placebo. The primary end point was the headache response defined as very severe, severe, or moderate pain becomes mild or nil, at 30 minutes. The primary end point was examined using a multilevel analysis approach. A total of 57 patients were recruited of whom 46 provided efficacy data on attacks treated with octreotide and 45 with placebo. The headache response rate with subcutaneous octreotide was 52%, whereas that with placebo was 36%. Modeling the treatment outcome as a binomial where response was determined by treatment, using the patient as the level 2 variable, and considering period effect, sex, and cluster headache type as other variables of interest, we found that the effect of subcutaneous octreotide 100μg was significantly superior to placebo (p < 0.01). Subcutaneous octreotide 100μg is effective in the acute treatment of cluster headache when compared with placebo. Nonvasconstrictor treatment of acute cluster headache is possible. Ann Neurol 2004

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