05/28/07 #3 - Cluster headaches, serotonin levels, "body clocks?"

Ask the Clinician Health Guide May 28, 2007
  • Full Question:
    Hi, I have cluster headaches, when I am in a cluster Topamax is what saves me, along with Imitrex StatDose. I read anything I can get my hands on regarding vascular cluster headaches. It always appears to link back to lack of serotonin levels. It also links to internal body clocks being "off". My question is can they just give something to build up the serotonin levels? My second question is about internal body clocks being off. Does this infer issues such as irregular periods, and always feeling cold, could be link to the term of body clocks being off? What other indicators could be linked to your body clock being off? Thank you, Karen.

     

    Answer:

    Dear Karen;

    You ask some interesting questions, but the serotonin system in the brain is quite complicated and it's not just an issue of " building up” serotonin. If that were the case, then medications like Prozac or Lexapro would be helpful, since that is what they do.

    As far as “body clocks" are concerned, melatonin has been suggested to play a role in cluster and even possibly migraine pathophysiology. Certainly endocrine underpinnings, causes, or associations with Migraines and other headaches are quite numerous.  I kid around with my patients (I'm really not kidding) that I'm evolving into an amateur endocrinologist since we look for abnormalities in thyroid, cortisol, estradiol, growth hormone, testosterone, and other endocrine systems. And, guess what, we pick up quite a number of people with items that can be treated, or at least tweaked. The interaction of various rhythms in the brain with diseases like migraine is quite complex and we are at a very rudimentary stage of understanding these processes. Consider consultation with a true headache expert.

    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert


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