Phenotypic and treatment outcome data on SUNCT and SUNA, including a randomised placebo-controlled trial.

Weng, Hsing-Yu; Cohen, Anna S; Schankin, Christoph; Goadsby, Peter J (2018). Phenotypic and treatment outcome data on SUNCT and SUNA, including a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Cephalalgia, 38(9), pp. 1554-1563. Sage Publications 10.1177/0333102417739304

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Background Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT) and short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with cranial autonomic symptoms (SUNA) are two rare headache syndromes classified broadly as Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias (TACs). Methods Here, 65 SUNCT (37 males) and 37 SUNA (18 males) patients were studied to describe their clinical manifestations and responses to treatment. Results Pain was almost always unilateral and side-locked. There were three types of attack: Single stabs, stab groups, and a saw-tooth pattern, with some patients experiencing a mixture of two types. As to cranial autonomic symptoms, SUNA patients mainly had lacrimation (41%) and ptosis (40%). Most cases of the two syndromes had attack triggers, and the most common triggers were touching, chewing, or eating for SUNCT, and chewing/eating and touching for SUNA. More than half of each group had a personal or family history of migraine that resulted in more likely photophobia, phonophobia and persistent pain between attacks. For short-term prevention, both syndromes were highly responsive to intravenous lidocaine by infusion; for long-term prevention, lamotrigine and topiramate were effective for SUNCT, and lamotrigine and gabapentin were efficacious in preventing SUNA attacks. A randomized placebo-controlled cross-over trial of topiramate in SUNCT using an N-of-1 design demonstrated it to be an effective treatment in line with clinical experience. Conclusions SUNCT and SUNA are rare primary headache disorders that are distinct and very often tractable to medical therapy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Schankin, Christoph


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Sage Publications




Stefanie Hetzenecker

Date Deposited:

11 Dec 2017 09:19

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 13:59

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

SUNA SUNCT cranial autonomic symptoms gabapentin lamotrigine lidocaine topiramate trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia triggers




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