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Medicine Science

LSD Alleviates 'Suicide Headaches' 272

Posted by timothy
from the why-do-you-say-even dept.
sciencehabit writes "Patients suffering from the agony of cluster headaches will take anything to dull the pain, even LSD, it turns out. Results from a pilot study reveal that six patients treated with 2-bromo-LSD, a nonhallucinogenic analog of LSD, showed a significant reduction in cluster headaches per day; some were free of the attacks for weeks or months. And some of these patients are still reporting significant relief more than a year after they were treated with the compound." I'm told, by people with reason to know, that the hallucinogenic variety has the same effect on cluster headaches.
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LSD Alleviates 'Suicide Headaches'

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  • Confirmed. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:07AM (#36593258)

    Yes, I can tell you from personal experience that LSD does indeed (at least for me) help knock back "cluster" headaches. The only real problem for me was the ensuing giant insects.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I found covering the walls and floor with sticky paper helps with the giant insects. Unfortunately several of my rather large stuck house guests insist on watching Fox News. I had to give it up because watching Fox News on acid really makes me paranoid.

      "An update", turns out it wasn't the acid or the 6' cockroaches making me paranoid it was Fox News. That was a relief.

    • by JordanL (886154)
      Was that a reference to Naked Lunch?
    • by pinkushun (1467193) * on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @06:49AM (#36594820) Journal

      I was always too fucked to notice any headaches >_> So it worked, in essence!

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:13AM (#36593290)
    Dr prescribed phrenilin (butalbital + acetaminophen) for mine.
    • Really? My doc prescribed me Fioricet (Same thing, plus caffeine) for my migraines. Doesn't even put a dent in them... Nasty as it is, the best way I've found to deal with them is to lie in a scalding bath until I puke, then immediately take an Aleve liqui-gel.

      Oddly, the puking part is not optional for the treatment to work...

      • by macs4all (973270)

        Really? My doc prescribed me Fioricet (Same thing, plus caffeine) for my migraines. Doesn't even put a dent in them... Nasty as it is, the best way I've found to deal with them is to lie in a scalding bath until I puke, then immediately take an Aleve liqui-gel.

        Oddly, the puking part is not optional for the treatment to work...

        Puking causes a gigantic histamine release, which in turn, causes massive vasodilatation. Then Aleve (Naproxen Sodium) works as an anti-inflammatory, which suppresses histamines.

        This is kind of odd. I wonder why the histamine cycling is helping. But I would suspect that is what is happening.

        Next time, you can try either masturbating until climax (I assume you are not in any kind of a mood for actual sex while having these headaches!), or take a rather large dose of Niacin (which also causes a histamine

        • Puking causes a gigantic histamine release, which in turn, causes massive vasodilatation. Then Aleve (Naproxen Sodium) works as an anti-inflammatory, which suppresses histamines.

          This is kind of odd. I wonder why the histamine cycling is helping. But I would suspect that is what is happening.

          One of the main potential explanation about how migraine work has to do with Vascular spasms [wikimedia.org]. It's rather well known and described in the scientific literature.
          Anything which can affect vascular constriction might help fight the migraine.
          - Caffeine is a good example (beta-mimetic, cause peripheral blood vessel constriction)
          - In fact serotonin [wikimedia.org] might play a role in migraine. It's a vaso-active chemical. And it's targeted by several drugs : the whole family of tryptans, or LSD like mentioned here, or commercia

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          Next time, you can try either masturbating until climax (I assume you are not in any kind of a mood for actual sex while having these headaches!), or take a rather large dose of Niacin (which also causes a histamine release), THEN take your Aleve.

          Beats puking, and is a lot easier on your brain than driving your core temperature dangerously upward...

          From personal experience, the physical activity will amplify your migraine pain dramatically, so any temporary relief will at best get you back down to where you were before, but not relieve the migraine.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        The only treatment I found for migraines was to lie down in a frigidly cold, perfectly still, quite and dark room for between 30 minutes and 3 hours.

        Aleve does absolutely nothing for me, not even for "normal" pain.

      • by mcmonkey (96054)

        Really? My doc prescribed me Fioricet (Same thing, plus caffeine) for my migraines. Doesn't even put a dent in them... Nasty as it is, the best way I've found to deal with them is to lie in a scalding bath until I puke, then immediately take an Aleve liqui-gel.

        Oddly, the puking part is not optional for the treatment to work...

        This is completely anecdotal and non-scientific, but...

        I get the type of migraines that get worse and worse until I puke. Then they quickly (within minutes) go away. Ibuprofen (Advil) helps if I take 1000 mg very early when I first feel the smallest inkling of a headache coming on. After that, the best thing is either ride it out or take a percocet. Thanks to the war on drugs, I don't want to ask my doctor for narcotics or explain how I know it will help. (I've never tried a hot bath.)

        But as for the LS

      • Migraines are not the same thing as cluster headaches. Migraines are caused by vasodilation, and vasoconstriction is the only effective treatment. If phrenilin/fioricet relieves a "migraine", then it's not really a migraine.

        I've had a few migraines in my life, but I've had far more cluster headaches. My last two episodes lasted 16/17 days, would have been debilitating without an effective treatment. Phrenilin has been extremely effective in treating my cluster headaches, and it doesn't prevent me from being

        • One correction, Fioricet may relieve milder migraines because caffeine is a mild vasoconstrictor.
    • by Whomp-Ass (135351)

      No, They do not, not for me anyway.

      The only conclusive relief I have ever been able to achieve was through oxygen therapy.

      I also have an auto-injector of Imitrex which helps when I'm out-and-about...but it is **prohibitively** expensive to use.

      I have used LSD to break a cycle, and it works...The problem is that I do not maintain a lifestyle where finding LSD is an easy experience, nor do the benefits outweigh the risks, though to be fair, things take on a different perception when I'm in the middle of a cyc

      • Sounds like you have migraines, not cluster headaches. Imitrex is a vasoconstrictor, if it works, it was a migraine, not a cluster headache.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      Or just teach them self hypnosis. Hypnosis is bunk for many things, but it does work for pain management. With some practice you can knock any headache to nothingness in a few seconds.

  • From descriptions of the condition, it would seem to me that drugs substantially nastier and more dangerous than mere LSD would likely be quite well accepted if they demonstrated efficacy. Not being Schedule I would certainly be a convenient feature of the new compound; but even standard LSD would seem to be considerably less disabling(and rather more pleasant) than the alternative...
    • by AtrN (87501)
      We're already taking the drugs "far nastier and more dangerous than mere LSD". A lot of the time they don't work and they don't work the same across all sufferers. I'm only a episodic cluster head (a lucky one) but the side effects of the meds that work for me and can stop an attack cluster are such that I prefer to ride it out without them. More info at clusterheadaches.com [clusterheadaches.com]
      • by berashith (222128)

        this is absolutely true. I rarely take the meds, and I always wait to long to start, as I absolutely hate the way they make me feel. I did take a lot of LSD in my time, and I had less headaches during the times that I was using drugs, but I never want to link those two things in definitive ways as there are far too many variables to consider.

        I had some prescriptions that nearly disabled me, all I could do was sleep. I describe the choice of not taking them to my doctor as a choice of being at all useful. If

      • by i.r.id10t (595143)

        Yup, a friend suffers from them, and one of his triggers is narcotics. SOP for him is to hit the ER, referr them to his chart and standing orders, then hit gets hit wtih a dose of Demerol big enough to put him out long enough for the headache cycle to break. Just "a little" demerol just spawns more headaches for him.

  • ...have long been used to treat migraines long before the so-called "triptans". Not surprising that LSD would work on cluster headaches (even though they are a slightly different pathology). Yes, a drug that vasoconstrict cant alleviate the pain brought on by vasodilation.
    • Except this time it's not plain vanilla LSD like done for ages. It's 2-bromo- LSD. I smell a new drug being commercialised very soon.

      Some pharma company going through the same usual stuff :
      1. Take a public domain drung known to work
      2. change the structure somewhat up until the point where the new structure is patentable.
      3. ...
      4. Profit !

      (3 = usually it actually involves testing the new molecule as in TFA).

      There's some commercial company mentioned in the Abstract. It might indeed be the case.

    • Pain from cluster headaches are caused by vasodilation near a pain nerve in the head. LSD is a vasoconstrictor, which is why it works.

      But not any more than ergotamines, caffeine, pure oxygen inhalation, or a simple ice pack applied to the head - much better options when 'drain bramage' is a concern.

      (I'm agreeing with your post, just adding on to it)

  • But I'm pretty sure I forgot about any sensations of my body when my bedroom stretched out and became a rollercoaster.

  • by Psychotria (953670) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:31AM (#36593420)

    I do not suffer from cluster headaches and can't imagine that I'd want to. If they're difficult to alleviate then I honestly feel sorry for those people and can understand doing whatever it takes to alleviate them or find comfort. Even though I do not suffer from cluster headaches I do think I can empathise with those that do, in a kind of tangential way. I take Venlafaxine (Effexor) 300mg per day. This drug is not addictive apparently (semantic smoke and mirrors I reckon because I cannot cease taking it). Anyway, I do take my dose. The problem is that I have "electric shocks" even if I miss the dose by an hour or so. I also get the "electric shocks" towards the end of every day and the basically incapacitate me. I've seen MANY doctors who don't even believe that they exist. I've even had one psychiatrist suggest that I am schizophrenic and that the "electric shocks" are some kind of delusion. I am not schizophrenic, by the way, and the "electric shocks" are not imagined. The medical profession really starts to need listening to their patients! These shocks that I am talking about are not, currently, measurable so therefore they do not exist according to most "doctors" and psychologists and psychiatrists and researchers that I've spoken to. At the same time the cannot suggest a way to get off the "non-addictive" drug they put me on. Can't get withdrawal symptoms from a non-addictive drug so they label it "discontinuation syndrome". Semantic bullshit in other words.

    Anyway, the above relates to TFA because I can't see the medical profession accepting this treatment. Perhaps they don't even believe it exists.

    • Adding to my above comment, every single doctor except my current one has suggested to increase the dose to avoid the end of day electric shock sessions. When does that end. Every year they'd increase the dose to alleviate the so-called non-existent electric shocks (which is why I am on 300mg not 75mg). I finally had enough. If the trend continued I'd be doubling my dose every year until I was taking 3.14kg of the drug everyday just to manage the side-effects and STILL not be able to stop taking it and maki

      • by muridae (966931)
        There's a reason that stuff gets called side-effexor. That electric shock thing is something I have felt too; I got it as withdraw pain from various SSRIs. I thought it was a pretty recognized side effect of most SSRIs. Getting the pain was, in my case, plenty of reason to switch medications since it meant I was some how going through withdrawal daily. Extended release pills can help, if you can take them.
    • Sorry to hear you are getting screwed by the doctors. You are going to have to take this into your own hands, and try to get yourself off the drug. Is there any way you can take a few weeks off? You standard detoxifying methods might make if faster.

      I do have CH and most of us have learned that the docs will only do so much. We need to take care of ourselves. We take 1/3 shots of imitrex as the full migraine shot doesn't work well. Sufferers have developed an oxygen mask because they existing ones did not
      • As someone who pulled a mildly warm turkey off Effexor... Don't suggest that to someone on this drug. For me the flu like symptoms and mood swings lasted for about 4 days, vivid dreams for 2 weeks and the "shocks"/brain freezes about a month. And I took a very small dose whenever things got too bad for the first 4 days. there is only one right way to get off it and that's gradually reducing the dose. Everything else requires a babysitter. And whatever the reason for taking the meds... It will come crashing
      • Just to explain. Problem with this drug isn't that it doesnt leave the system. Problem is, that it is leaving way too quickly and brain doesn't really cope well with that.
    • Were your doctors idiots? A very superficial google search confirms that this kind of symptom does exist for this type of medication. If I were you, my next step would be to go to a Medical/Biology University library, and have the librarians help find you actual peer reviewed Medical Journals that talk about it. If the doctors are not going to look this up, and let's face it, they can't look up everything on every topic, there is just too much research to go through it all, you'll just have to do it yoursel

      • Were they idiots? I am not sure. But they sure as hell don't recognise it as something to worry about. Maybe I will follow your recommendation and try and do this myself, but it does make me very angry.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      I am in constant pain due to Reiter's Syndrome and am one of the people whose bloodwork and x-rays look normal, so I can understand your position. However, there is always some kind of physical evidence, in my case the fact that my joints don't move normally and feel stiff. If you get these shocks but there is no physiological aspect to them then I think you have to seriously consider that they might be psychological.

      The mind is very powerful when it comes to deluding itself, and since it seems to be affect

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Psychology is a fancy name for subjective neurology. The zaps "exist" in your nervous system. Whether they exist in the location they appar to exist in, or only in the portion of the brain mapping to that location, is an interesting question, but does not make them nonexistent. And they are chemical in origin. They are not imagined. They are felt. I have no doubt that if a precise enough instrument were connected to the neurons involved they would detect activity that is not created by outside effectors

    • Been there, done that. Just don't quit on your own. I did. It was an experience to say the least. If you get shocks now... Quitting will be horror. Get your doc to subscribe you smaller doses to be taken more frequently or just take a wet finger full off a capsule when you get the shocks. It should take them right away. The med has 9h half life. Your dosage is probably not staying as stable as it should.

      P.S Im not a doctor, just someone who has been there and walked the mile. And at that time the med sav
    • by macs4all (973270)

      I do not suffer from cluster headaches and can't imagine that I'd want to. If they're difficult to alleviate then I honestly feel sorry for those people and can understand doing whatever it takes to alleviate them or find comfort. Even though I do not suffer from cluster headaches I do think I can empathise with those that do, in a kind of tangential way. I take Venlafaxine (Effexor) 300mg per day. This drug is not addictive apparently (semantic smoke and mirrors I reckon because I cannot cease taking it). Anyway, I do take my dose. The problem is that I have "electric shocks" even if I miss the dose by an hour or so. I also get the "electric shocks" towards the end of every day and the basically incapacitate me. I've seen MANY doctors who don't even believe that they exist. I've even had one psychiatrist suggest that I am schizophrenic and that the "electric shocks" are some kind of delusion. I am not schizophrenic, by the way, and the "electric shocks" are not imagined. The medical profession really starts to need listening to their patients! These shocks that I am talking about are not, currently, measurable so therefore they do not exist according to most "doctors" and psychologists and psychiatrists and researchers that I've spoken to. At the same time the cannot suggest a way to get off the "non-addictive" drug they put me on. Can't get withdrawal symptoms from a non-addictive drug so they label it "discontinuation syndrome". Semantic bullshit in other words.

      Anyway, the above relates to TFA because I can't see the medical profession accepting this treatment. Perhaps they don't even believe it exists.

      Electric Shocks and Vertigo (and that whole suicidal/homicidal thoughts thing) are well-documented effects of SSRI WITHDRAWAL. I would guess that there is something going on with your Effexor dosage, or the Effexor itself is defective.

      Anyway, SSRIs SUCK (and are generally ineffective at treating anything but OCD), and Effexor is one of the suckiest to discontinue [crazymeds.us]. I don't doubt you are having these electric shocks for one second, and anyone in the P-Doc world that does should hand in their Medical License

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      Odd, I rather enjoyed that. It felt tingly for a bit, although at the time I didn't associate it with being late on a dose. And the vivid dreams - I remember when the hand of God (bright orange and obviously not corporeal) reached down and fed my friend's goldfish.

      You can suffer a little every day, or you can get off of it. You got two choices. One, take a dose 1 extra hour apart every week, so if it's 6 hours then do 7 for a week, 8 the next, and so on, or 10 minutes per does, or something. Or, expect

  • by Smurf (7981) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:32AM (#36593426)

    Gosh! For a few seconds I got a dyslexia attack and thought that the Church of the LDS was now falling in line with the tele-evangelists.

    Furthermore, it didn't seem so surprising to me that "patients suffering from the agony of cluster headaches will take anything to dull the pain," even turn to religion. Only the next sentence clued me in.

    • That only cures headaches caused by coffee. Unless you get them from coke, too, then you're screwed.
    • Gosh! For a few seconds I got a dyslexia attack and thought that the Church of the LDS was now falling in line with the tele-evangelists.

      Furthermore, it didn't seem so surprising to me that "patients suffering from the agony of cluster headaches will take anything to dull the pain," even turn to religion. Only the next sentence clued me in.

      Sounds like you took a bit too much LDS back in the 60's at Berkley.

  • Has anyone else been experiencing more/stronger headaches lately? I've been having a lot more lately, and it seems I've notice other people with them as well (more than usual).
    • No, not me, and not anyone around me (at least I don't think).

      There must be a cluster of headache sufferers where you live. Either that, or there may be an abnormal number of red cars driving around your area. Personally, I find that seeing red cars gives me headaches, but thankfully I've been lucky, I haven't seen many red cars lately.

      What about you? May be, you should keep a car color journal or something, and report back here in a couple of days.

    • Have you been eating much of radioactive fish lately?

    • by PPH (736903)
      Windows 7 SP1 is out.
  • Nor regarding the shrooms.

  • My mother-in-law is coming to visit. Pass the acid. And the coke. And the smack. And the booze. And the acid.
  • 1. If 2-bromo-LSD and regular LSD have similar effects, shouldn't there be a very large number of sufferers who have had success with LSD, and wouldn't this have generated a previous study?

    2. If they're called "suicide" headaches, are there documented cases of them causing suicide? (The Wikipedia article didn't list any, though the condition sounds horrific enough to cause it.)

    3. Did anybody else think of the Star Trek TNG episode where Riker gets a headache, and Crusher mentions something about headaches b

  • Some of the best most thought-provoking and introspective experiences of my life were on LSD. Nothing bad to say about the stuff.

  • Side effects may include clown vomit and monkey rain.
  • So now the US government has to take LSD off Schedule 1 on the controlled substances list [wikipedia.org]. Mind you they should have taken it off in the 1960's when it was shown to be usable in the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. They should have taken cannabis off schedule 1 ages ago as well when medical uses for that were acknowledged in some states. But they don't, so cocaine, opium, and methamphetamine users get less jail time than cannabis users. That seems fair.

    Anyone need further evidence that the war

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