Long-term improvement in refractory headache following ozone therapy

J Altern Complement Med. 2013 May;19(5):453-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0273. Epub 2012 Dec 7.


Background: Headache afflicts approximately 10%-15% of the general population. Mixed results are obtained from various therapies, usually drugs, but also oxygen inhalation, behavioral psychology, physical therapy, and peripheral or central neurostimulation. When refractory to treatment, it has severe impact on quality of life. OBJECTIVES/SUBJECTS: Five (5) patients are presented who had suffered from severe/persistent headache refractory to standard management (including 5-HT1 agonist triptan drugs) and were treated with ozone therapy.

Interventions: Ozone administration was by major autohemotherapy. The procedure involved venous blood drawn into a sterile single-use glass bottle containing anticoagulant, gently mixed with an equal volume of O3/O2 gas mixture (prefiltered through a sterile 0.20-μm filter) and slowly reinfused back into the donor patient via the antecubital vein.

Outcome measures: The analyzed parameters were analgesia requirements, days of sick leave due to headache, number of headache events, and pain intensity according to the visual analogue scale (VAS); these recorded at three time points: pre-ozone therapy, post-ozone therapy, and before the last follow-up (mean: 64.6±36.8 months).

Results: The number of headache episodes pretreatment (n=80; range 5-200) was significantly decreased during the first 6 months post-treatment (n=0, range 0-1; p=0.042) and over the 6 months before the last follow-up visit (n=1, range 0-2; p=0.043). The corresponding VAS scores were 8.7±0.8 pretreatment versus 1.1±2.5 the 6 months post-treatment (p=0.003) and versus 3.1±3.3 the 6 months before last follow-up visit (p=0.036).

Conclusions: Ozone therapy decreased headache episodes and pain severity over a protracted period. This novel approach is effective and merits further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Transfusion, Autologous*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Headache Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ozone / administration & dosage*
  • Pain Clinics
  • Pain Measurement
  • Recurrence


  • Ozone