Eletriptan for the Short-term Prophylaxis of Cluster Headache


Address all correspondence to Dr. Karin Zebenholzer, Department of Neurology, University of Vienna Medical School, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, A-1090 Wien, Austria.


Background.—A beneficial prophylactic effect from eletriptan 40 mg given to a single patient with cluster headache was observed.

Objective.—To further evaluate the efficacy of eletriptan in the short-term prophylaxis of cluster headache.

Methods.—We treated 18 patients; mean age, 40.5 years (standard deviation [SD], 9.9). The number of cluster headache attacks was recorded during a baseline period of 6 days, and during 6 days of treatment with eletriptan 40 mg twice daily. The primary outcome measure was the reduction in the number of attacks during the treatment period.

Results.—In the 16 patients who completed the study (2 patients were lost to follow-up), the mean total number of attacks decreased from 10.9 (SD, 5.6) during baseline to 6.3 (SD, 3.7) during treatment with eletriptan (P= .01) The reduction in the number of attacks exceeded 50% in 6 patients.

Conclusion.—This small open-label study suggests that eletriptan 40 mg twice daily may be useful for the short-term prophylaxis of cluster headache.