Cluster headache

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In medicine, a cluster headache is "a primary headache disorder that is characterized by severe, strictly unilateral pain which is orbital, supraorbital, temporal or in any combination of these sites, lasting 15-180 min. occurring 1 to 8 times a day. The attacks are associated with one or more of the following, all of which are ipsilateral: conjunctival injection, lacrimation, nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, facial sweating, eyelid edema, and miosis."[1]


Diagnostic criteria developed by the International Headache Society are:[2]
A. At least 5 attacks fulfilling criteria B-D
B. Severe or very severe unilateral orbital, supraorbital and/or temporal pain lasting 15-180 minutes if untreated1
C. Headache is accompanied by at least one of the following:

  1. ipsilateral conjunctival injection and/or lacrimation
  2. ipsilateral nasal congestion and/or rhinorrhoea
  3. ipsilateral eyelid oedema
  4. ipsilateral forehead and facial sweating
  5. ipsilateral miosis and/or ptosis
  6. a sense of restlessness or agitation

D. Attacks have a frequency from one every other day to 8 per day
E. Not attributed to another disorder


Treatment options have been reviewed in a meta-analysis.[3]


  1. Anonymous (2015), Cluster headache (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. International Headache Society. Cluster headache
  3. Francis GJ, Becker WJ, Pringsheim TM (2010). "Acute and preventive pharmacologic treatment of cluster headache.". Neurology 75 (5): 463-73. DOI:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181eb58c8. PMID 20679639. Research Blogging.