FDA Approves Drug That Can Prevent Cluster Headaches


CLUSTER HEADACHES CAN BE JUST AS BAD AS MIGRAINES AND JUST AS DIFFICULT TO TREAT. THE FDA HAS APPROVED THE FIRST DRUG TO NOT ONLY TREAT BUT ALSO PREVENTS CLUSTER HEADACHES. YOU KNOW LIKE A HOT POKER IN MY EYE. I WOULD GET THEM IN MY RIGHT EYE . Reporter: HER HEADACHES WERE COME EVERY OTHER WEEK AND LAST 5 TO 10 DAYS. EVERY 15 MINUTES, ANOTHER WAVE. LIKE GETTING BRAIN FREEZE BUT ON A SCALE OF 10. THEY WOULD WAKE ME UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. I WOULD BANG MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL AND PUSH INTO MY HEAD. INSTEAD OF GOING SOMEWHERE DARK AND QUIET, SHE WOULD PACE. MY I WOULD DROOP AND WATER. Reporter: 30 YEARS OF THESE HEADACHES. SHE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH ALLERGIES, THEN MIGRAINE THEN CLUSTER HEADACHES. THESE ARE LESS PREVALENT AND DIFFERENT THAN MIGRAINES. MIGRAINES TEND TO START ON ONE SIDE OF THE HEAD THAT CAN MOVE IN THERE MORE COMMON IN WOMEN. WITH CLUSTER HEADACHES, THE PAIN INVOLVES THE I NOW. IT’S A THROBBING PAIN. Reporter: PEOPLE CAN HAVE REDNESS AND WATERING OF THE EYE, A RUNNY NOSE, DROOPED EYELID AND FLUSHED SKIN ON THE SAME SIDE. THE EPISODES LAST 15 MINUTES AND OCCUR REPEATEDLY WHICH CAN LAST ONE WEEK OR MONTHS. THESE HEADACHES ARE MORE COMMON IN MEN. THE USUAL TREATMENTS INCLUDE OXYGEN OR MEDICATION AT THE TIME OF THE ATTACK. I WOULD BE ON OXYGEN FOR 30 MINUTES. SOMETIMES IT WOULD WORK AND SOMETIMES IT WOULDN’T. Reporter: THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANYTHING TO PREVENT CLUSTERS UNTIL NOW. THE FDA HAS APPROVED A MEDICINE NOT ONLY AS A TREATMENT FOR CLUSTER HEADACHES BUT ALSO PREVENTION. INITIALLY BECAME ON THE MARKET IN 2018 FOR MIGRAINE PREVENTION. IN A STUDY OF MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE WITH CLUSTER, 70% HAD THE EVENTS CUT IN HALF AND THE OTHER 30% HAD THEIR HEADACHES STOP IMMEDIATELY. IT’S A SINGLE SHOT ONCE A MONTH UNTIL THE CLUSTER IS OVER. THIS MONTHLY INJECTION BLOCKS PROTEINS AND INTERFERES WITH THE HORMONE ASSOCIATED WITH EPISODIC CLUSTER HEADACHE. WE DON’T KNOW THE PATHWAYS TO ACTIVATE THIS PAIN. WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS? Reporter: THE ONLY SIDE EFFECT WAS INJECTION SITE IRRITATION AND SOME PEOPLE COULD BE ALLERGIC TO IT. THE DAY AFTER I INJECT I GET A LITTLE CRANKY. MY HUSBAND SAYS HE CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE. IT IS PRICEY. MY INSURANCE WOULD NOT COVER IT. THE SHOTS ARE $2000 PER MONTH. THE DRUGMAKER OFFER SOME ASSISTANCE. THEY GAVE ME THE NO PAY CARD. BECAUSE OF THE NEW MEDICATION, THE DOCTOR EXPECTS MORE PEOPLE WITH CLUSTER HEADACHES WILL COME FORWARD. WE HAVE A TREATMENT TO OFFER THEM. DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING FOR ME AND YES, I DO. MICHELLE STARTED THE MEDICATION IN OCTOBER AND HASN’T HAD A CLUSTER HEADACHE SENSE. SHE NO LONGER CARRIES HER RESCUE MEDICINE EVERYWHERE SHE GOES. WHAT SHE HAS TOLD ME IS THE LONGER I KEEP THIS MEDICATION IN MY SYSTEM THE LONGER THE HEADACHES WILL STAY AWAY. AS TIME KEEPS GOING ON AND I’M

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  1. did he say "Cluster Headaches can be 'just as bad' as migraines"? CH is like, at least 10,000 times worse than a migraine.

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