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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

2024 Jul

Lancet Neurol




Recent advances in diagnosing, managing, and understanding the pathophysiology of cluster headache.


Petersen AS, Lund N, Goadsby PJ, Belin AC, Wang SJ, Fronczek R, Burish M, Cho SJ, Peres MFP, Jensen RH


Cluster headache, characterised by attacks of severe, recurrent, unilateral headache and ipsilateral cranial autonomic symptoms, remains a primary headache with an elusive pathophysiology. Recent advances have introduced effective treatments and broadened understanding of the clinical features of cluster headache. These features are similar in patients globally, but regional differences in prevalence and burden exist. International collaborations have led to identification of eight genetic loci associated with cluster headache. The pathophysiological mechanisms are still not fully understood but recent studies show that targeting the trigeminal autonomic reflex by neurostimulation, or targeting the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), might lessen the attack burden. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved galcanezumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting CGRP, as the first specific preventive treatment for episodic cluster headache. However, a preventive effect was not replicated in chronic cluster headache, and the European Medicines Agency did not approve galcanezumab, restricting its availability in Europe. Owing to the low prevalence of cluster headache, continued collaboration through multicentre clinical trials and data sharing will be imperative for further breakthroughs in understanding and management.