Greater occipital nerve (GON) infiltration is widely used for the treatment of primary and secondary headache disorders mainly on the basis of open-label evidence, although recent double-blinded placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated its efficacy in cluster headache. The procedure is generally well tolerated although corticosteroid-related side effects, including Cushing's syndrome and local cutaneous changes, can occur. We report the occurrence of cutaneous atrophy and alopecia in 4 patients who underwent GON blockade with triamcinolone and lidocaine. Triamcinolone injection is associated with cutaneous atrophy, especially in superficial injection sites; therefore, alternative steroid preparations like methylprednisolone and betamethasone might be more appropriate for GON blockade.
Keywords: alopecia; cluster headache; corticosteroid; greater occipital nerve injection; triamcinolone.
© 2012 American Headache Society.