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Hypnic Headache Responds to Topiramate: A Case Report and a Review of Mechanisms of Action of Therapeutic Agents

H Kesserwani, 2021.
Cereus, Volume 13
April 13, 2021


Hypnic headaches are unique as they are exclusively nocturnal, occurring in rapid-eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. Their nocturnal nature suggests a role for cyclic mechanisms involving the hypothalamus despite conflicting imaging results for the role of the posterior hypothalamus. Nevertheless, pharmacological therapeutics acting as highly effective agents, such as caffeine and melatonin, can modulate the sleep-wake cycle. In addition, indole agents such as indomethacin that are anti-nociceptive and affect cerebral blood flow also prove to be efficacious. Gabanoids and topiramate also have reported efficacy. We report the case of a topiramate-responsive hypnic headache patient and outline in detail the potential mechanisms of topiramate and the other therapeutic agents and adumbrate on the neuronal networks of migraine, the trigeminal autonomic cephalgias and suggest a potential neural circuit for hypnic headaches.

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