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Ketamine treatment for cluster headache (Switzerland)

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#1 Fri, 10/01/2020 - 09:13
Last seen: 6 days 11 hours ago
Joined: 26/06/2019 - 15:45

Ketamine treatment for cluster headache (Switzerland)

Good morning everyone. smiley

I'm an episodic cluster headache sufferer in the midst of my regular winter bout, but am finding that my sumatriptan injections are becoming less and less effective.

I've also just moved to Switzerland, and am due to see a new cluster headache specialist next week (Livia Granata in Zurich). According to her website, she offers a new experimental treatment (Ketamine IV) for episodic and chronic cluster headache that is not effectively treated by first-line treatments. Has anyone else had experience with this treatment? I am considering asking for it but worry about the side effects, though to be honest the sumatriptan is pretty horrible too. 

Also, if anyone has heard of any cluster headache support groups like OUCH in Switzerland then let me know. I'm finding it difficult to find advice on available treatments and doctors.

Best wishes and Happy New Year

Daniel - Episodic CH

Tue, 14/01/2020 - 12:43
Last seen: 11 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 21/03/2012 - 15:16

Hello Daniel 

Dr Granata is one of the authors of this study into ketamine for cluster headache, this is an abstract, but may give you some info on the treatment.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27067225  

It is not yet used or licensed in the UK for CH.  Recently in the UK, a new drug called galcanezumab was licensed for migraine, and a study is ongoing into a similar type of drug for cluster headache.  The treatment would entail an injection once a month - what bliss that would be!  

As a long term user of sumatriptan injections, I tolerate it very well.  When first using it I got a tightening in the chest and felt a bit nauseous, but those side effects faded as time went on.

Ketamine is an anaesthetic drug and has quite a list of possible side effects, info here:  https://www.rxlist.com/ketamine-hydrochloride-side-effects-drug-center.htm.

But of course I'm not a doctor!  They may use a smaller than usual dose in the treatment of CH.  I wish you well and please keep us posted with how you get on. 

Best wishes


Tue, 14/01/2020 - 13:00
Last seen: 6 days 11 hours ago
Joined: 26/06/2019 - 15:45

Thanks Val. It is good to hear that you found fewer side effects from the sumatriptan over time. I have only been using it for the past few months so maybe need more time to adjust to it.

If I end up trying any interesting new treatments then I'll give an update.

All the best,


Daniel - Episodic CH

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