Baclofen

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2001 Feb;5(1):79-82.

The use of Baclofen in cluster headaches.

Hering-Hanit R, Gadoth N.

Department of Neurology, Meir General Hospital, Sapir Medical Center, 59 Jabotinski Street, Kfar Saba 44288, Israel.

Cluster headache is a rare, clinically well-characterized disabling disorder that occurs in both episodic and chronic forms. The very painful short-lived unilateral headache attacks are associated with autonomic dysfunction. A large number of drugs such as ergotamines, steroids, methysergide, lithium carbonate, verapamil, valproate, capsaicin, leuprolide, clonidine, methylergovine maleate, methylphenidate, and melatonin are considered beneficial for prophylaxis. Nevertheless, this extremely painful condition is occasionally refractory to conventional treatment. The antispastic agent baclofen has been shown to possess an antinociceptive activity. Its efficacy in neuralgias, central pain following spinal lesions, painful strokes, migraine, and medication misuse chronic daily headache suggests that it may be useful for prevention of cluster headache attacks. Therefore, we treated 16 symptomatic patients with cluster headache with daily baclofen, 15 to 30 mg, in three divided doses for the cluster period and 2 weeks after. Within a week, 12 patients reported the cessation of attacks. One was substantially better and became attack free by the end of the following week. In the remaining three patients, the attacks worsened and corticosteroids were prescribed. One of these was also given verapamil. Three of the 16 patients had an additional cluster period, which cleared with a second course of baclofen. In this pilot study, baclofen seemed to be effective, safe, and well tolerated for cluster headache, and seemed to retain its efficacy on repeated clusters.

PMID: 11252142


Headache. 2000 Jan;40(1):48-51.

Baclofen in cluster headache.

Hering-Hanit R, Gadoth N.

Department of Neurology, Meir General Hospital, Kfar Saba, and the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Cluster headache is a rare, severe, clinically well-characterized disorder that occurs in both episodic and chronic forms. The painful short-lived attacks occur unilaterally and are associated with signs and symptoms of autonomic involvement. They are difficult to treat, and reported prophylactic therapies include ergotamine, steroids, methysergide, lithium carbonate, verapamil, valproate, capsaicin, leuprolide, clonidine, methylergonovine maleate, and melatonin. Baclofen, an antispastic agent, has been shown to have an antinociceptive action. Its efficacy in the treatment of neuralgias, central pain following spinal lesions or painful strokes, migraine, and medication misuse chronic daily headache suggested that it may prevent cluster headache attacks. Nine cluster headache patients received baclofen, 15 to 30 mg, in three divided doses. Within a week, six of nine patients reported the cessation of attacks. One was substantially better and became attack free by the end of the following week. In the remaining two patients, the attacks worsened and corticosteroids were prescribed. In this pilot study, baclofen seemed to be effective and well tolerated for the prevention of cluster headache.

PMID: 10759904