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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Atkinson V, Lee L (2004) An unusual case of an airplane headache. Headache 44:438–439
Evans RW, Purdy RA, Goodman SH (2007) Airplane descent headaches. Headache 47:719–723
Marchioretto F, Mainardi F, Zanchin G (2008) Airplane headache: a neurologist’s personal experience. Cephalalgia 28:101
Mainardi F, Lisotto C, Palestini C, Sarchielli P, Maggioni F, Zanchin G (2007) Headache attributed to airplane travel (‘‘airplane headache’’): first italian case. J Headache Pain 8:196–199
Berilgen MS, Müngen M (2006) Headache associated with airplane travel: report of six cases. Cephalalgia 26:707–711
Kim HJ, Cho YJ, Cho JY, Hong KS (2008) Severe jabbing headache associated with airplane travel. Can J Neurol Sci 35(2):267–268
Titlić M, Demarin V (2008) Airplane headaches-two new cases and a review of the literature. Acta Med Croatica 62(2):229–231
Rayman RB (2002) Cabin air quality: an overview. Aviat Space Environ Med 73(3):211–215
Norbäck D, Lindgren T, Wieslander G (2006) Changes in ocular and nasal signs and symptoms among air crew in relation to air humidification on intercontinental flights. Scand J Work Environ Health 32(2):138–144
Mahabir RC, Szymczak A, Sutherland GR (2004) Intracerebral pneumatocele presenting after air travel. J Neurosurg 101(2):340–342
Countinho E, Pereira-Monteiro J (2008) ‘Bad trips’: airplane headache not just in airplanes? Cephalalgia 28:986–987
Queiroz LP, Rapoport AM (2007) High-altitude headache. Curr Pain Headache Rep 11(4):293–296
Pascual J (1998) Mechanism of action of zolmitriptan. Neurologia (Suppl) 2:9–15
Lambert GA (2005) Preclinical neuropharmacology of naratriptan. CNS Drug Rev 11(3):289–316
Sandrini G, Perrotta A, Tassorelli C, Nappi G (2009) Eletriptan. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol 5(12):1587–1598
Charlesworth BR, Dowson AJ, Purdy A, Becker WJ, Boes-Hansen S, Färkkilä M (2003) Speed onset and efficiacy of zolmitriptan nasal spray in acute treatment of migraine: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose ranging study versus zolmitriptan tablet. CNS Drugs 17(9):653–667
Ahn AH, Basbaum AI (2005) Where do triptans act in the treatment of migraine? Pain 115(1–2):1–4
About this article
Cite this article
İpekdal, H.İ., Karadaş, Ö., Öz, O. et al. Can triptans safely be used for airplane headache?. Neurol Sci 32, 1165–1169 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-011-0603-7
- Airplane headache
- Triptan treatment