What Are Triptans Used For?
Using Triptans for Cluster HeadachesCluster headaches are known for their extreme pain and their pattern of occurring in "clusters," usually at the same time(s) of the day for several weeks.
Cluster headaches may begin as a minor pain or pressure around one eye or temple. They may also begin as a burning sensation on the nose. The pain quickly intensifies over several minutes, eventually spreading to that side of the face. A cluster headache is often described as constant, deep, excruciating pain, although occasionally it may be pulsing and throbbing. The pain is always on one side of the head.
The intense pain of a cluster headache often compels the victim to pace the floor or rock in a chair. This differs from a migraine attack, where the person wants to curl up into bed and be still.
Other symptoms of a cluster headache may include:
- Stuffed and runny nose
- Droopy eyelid
- Sweating forehead
- Pale appearance
- Red, tearing eye
Because they have not been adequately studied in children and teens, most of the triptans are not approved for children and teens under 18 years of age. However, Maxalt® (rizatriptan) is approved for use in teens and children as young as six years of age. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using triptans to treat migraines in children and teens.
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend a triptan for treating something other than the conditions discussed above. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, using the oral, skin patch, or nasal spray triptans to treat cluster headaches would be an off-label use.