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December 26, 1986

Prescribing Oxygen for Cluster Headaches

Author Affiliations

Long Island Jewish Medical Center New Hyde Park, NY

JAMA. 1986;256(24):3349. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380240039019

To the Editor.—  I read with interest the article by Dr Skorodin1 discussing current oxygen prescribing practices. The author writes of the various selection criteria for ambulatory oxygen supplementation in patients with chronic lung disease. He also notes the difficulty in obtaining third-party payment for the home use of oxygen. This is a problem not only for patients with chronic respiratory disease but also for patients with cluster headaches, who may also benefit from the use of home oxygen therapy.2(p231)-4Cluster headaches may be aborted through the use of 100% oxygen inhalation with a face mask at 8 to 10 L/min for up to 30 minutes. In spite of the fact that oxygen has been shown to be a useful treatment for cluster headaches, third-party payers often balk at paying. The pain of the cluster attack may be so severe that it has been called a "suicide headache."