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Neurol Sci. 2011 Dec;32(6):1165-9. doi: 10.1007/s10072-011-0603-7. Epub 2011 May 10.

Can triptans safely be used for airplane headache?

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Department of Neurology, Mareşal Çakmak Military Hospital, Erzurum, Turkey.


A few cases of airplane headache (AH) have been reported in the literature. Treatment strategies of AHs are also controversial. We followed-up five patients with AH. They were symptom-free during the daytime. Their physical, neurological, and ear-nose-throat examinations were all normal. Blood chemistries, cerebral magnetic resonance imaging, cerebral magnetic resonance imaging angiography, and paranasal sinus tomography studies of the patients were also normal. We preferred triptans because of the possible effect on the mechanism of AH. Patients were recommended to use single-dose of their drugs half an hour prior to flights. All of the patients had a good response to single dose triptan treatment and became headache-free during flights. This is the first study which puts forward the usefulness of the triptans as a safe treatment choice for airplane AH.

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