Cluster headache and cocaine use

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2000 Sep;90(3):271-4. doi: 10.1067/moe.2000.107834.


We present 3 patients who had episodes of orofacial pain compatible with cluster headache, the differential diagnosis being established with pulp pain of dental origin. Cocaine inhalation triggered pain in the premolar zone of the upper jaw, followed by spread of pain to the periorbital region on the same side. The pain episodes were very intense and lasted between 30 and 120 minutes. The patients presented conjunctival injection and lacrimation of the affected eye during these episodes. The crises were always unilateral. In one patient, pain shifted sides from one crisis to another within the same symptomatic or cluster period, affecting the side through which the drug was inhaled. Pain usually appeared 1 to 2 hours after cocaine consumption, though it disappeared 5 to 10 minutes after again inhaling the drug. None of our patients acknowledged cocaine consumption at the first visit; drug inhalation was only admitted at subsequent visits, once a degree of confidence had been established with the physician.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Cluster Headache / etiology*
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Facial Pain / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Cocaine