Headaches with (ipsilateral) autonomic symptoms

Authors:  Arne May
Source:  Journal of Neurology, Volume 250, Issue 11, pp 1273–1278


Primary short-lasting headaches broadly divide themselves into those associated with autonomic symptoms, so called trigemino-autonomic cephalgias (TACs), and those with little autonomic syndromes. The trigeminoautonomic cephalgias include cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicranias, in which head pain and cranial autonomic symptoms are prominent. The most striking feature of cluster headache is the circadian and circannual periodicity of the attacks. Inheritance may play a role in some families. The attacks are of extreme intensity, of short duration, occur unilaterally, and are accompanied by symptoms of autonomic dysfunction. Medical treatment includes both acute therapy aimed at aborting individual attacks and prophylactic therapy aimed at preventing recurrent attacks during the cluster period. Some types of trigemino-autonomic headaches, such as paroxysmal hemicrania and hemicrania continua have, unlike cluster headaches, a very robust response to indomethacin, leading to a consideration of indomethacin-sensitive headaches.
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