Lidocaine for Cluster Headaches

Topic Overview

Lidocaine is an anesthetic medicine that is most often used to numb an area of the body before a minor surgical procedure. Sometimes a 4% lidocaine solution is used as nose drops to stop cluster headaches.

Lidocaine has a small effect on pain for most people with cluster headaches. But it rarely stops the pain completely.1

The medicine is placed into the nostril on the same side as the headache. It can be repeated 15 minutes later, if needed. Side effects can include a burning sensation or numbness in the nose.

This medicine is available only by prescription. This medicine may be used to treat cluster headaches when other medicines have not helped.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Capobianco DJ, Dodick DW (2006). Diagnosis and treatment of cluster headache. Seminars in Neurology, 26(2): 242–259.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Revised January 27, 2012

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