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The first drug to treat debilitating cluster headaches was approved this week by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Sometimes described as 'suicide headaches,' cluster headaches are thought to be the most painful kind, leaving sufferers with short, intense bouts of head pain that last around 15 minutes and repeat over the course of a day.
Headaches - Weeks - Months - Time - Time
These recurrent headaches may happen over and over for weeks or months at a time, often at the same time of day or year, and often go untreated or mistreated.
Tuesday, the FDA approved Emgality, an injectable drug to treat the headaches, and the first shown to reduce the frequency of cluster headaches.
Americans - Pace - Rock - Heads - Walls
There are between 200,000 and one million Americans who periodically pace, rock or even bang their heads against walls or tables in desperate attempts to distract themselves from the searing pain of cluster headaches.
Cluster headaches typically strike between one and eight times over the course of a day.
Attacks - Weeks - Months - Time - Patients
Attacks tend to repeat for weeks or months at time, and most patients get 'remission' periods during which they are headache-free for up to years at a time, a minority suffer chronic cluster headaches, and get no extended relief.
Cluster headaches often happen seasonally or around the same time of day, so they get dismissed as a byproduct of seasonal allergies.
Clinicians - Migraines - Doctors - Kinds - Headaches
Alternatively, because clinicians are so much more familiar with migraines, doctors may conflate the two kinds of headaches.
But cluster headaches are distinct from migraines, too - both in their symptoms and neurology.
Treatment - Cluster - Headaches - Treatment - Migraines
And that means that proper treatment for cluster headaches should be different from treatment for migraines.
Migraines tend to have environmental or circumstantial triggers and while more women get migraines, cluster headaches primarily strike young men.
Cluster - Headaches
Cluster headaches, although they come on at...
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