Help! Anyone else have this experience?

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Posted by Richard Noel ( on May 25, 2000 at 08:43:24:

I have been a cluster headache victim for 30 years, with the most severe attacks occurring between the ages of 20 and 40. Mine are episodic, with the cyle most often occurring every 18-22 months. The cluster would last just about 3 months each time. Symptoms were classic.
About 10 years ago, I was hospitalized, and given massive IV doses of acyclovir (also called Zovirax). My
doctor at that time was very interested in virology and
had read about a case in Sweeden (published in the New
England journal of Medicine). It actually broke the cycle!! I have not had a major cluster since that time.
At the present time, I am experiencing a stabbing, piercing pain in my right hand which is similar to the pain I used to experience around my eye socket. There are other similarities. During the 1st month of this new experience, the 'attacks' were not as frequent, building to many attacks happening in the 2nd month--
mirroring the pattern of my cluster headache cycles. The frequency is now decreasing, which also follows the pattern. The doctor who treated me 10 years ago has unfortunately passed away. The doctors who have seen me regarding my current right-hand pain, are mystified as to cause, and have called the condition "probable peripheral neuropathy".
Has anyone out there had a similar experience --
of a similar type of pain, following a similar pattern, but in a location other than the head??!! Also, has anyone else been treated with acyclovir (zovirax) for
cluster headaches? [Interestingly, I began taking some
Zovirax tablets-400mg, 3x a day-along with an anti-inflamatory med. JUST in case there might be a connection between the two conditions. Shortly after starting this medication, the attacks of pain (back side of right hand, starting at about the knuckle of the ring finger and traveling about 3/4 of the way to the wrist) decreased in frequency quite noticably.
Coincidence? About to decrease anyway? Due to meds?
Over the past 10 years, any time I had indications that a cluster might be coming on, I would take the Zovirax tablets (prophylactically) for a short time. It is my feeling that this MAY very well be the reason why I haven't suffered any major cycles during the past 10
years. I am wondering if this recent flare-up of similar-type pain in my hand could be related. The orthopedic surgeon I just saw about my hand has just said he is not familiar with cluster headaches, he is not able to come up with a specific cause for my present hand pain, and that anything - including a possible connection to the cluster headaches - is certainly possible.
Please let me know if you've had a similar experience. Has anyone else had a doctor who explored the possibility that cluster headaches may have a viral
cause? Has anyone else ever tried the zovirax medication?
Thank you, in advance, for your responces. -R. Noel

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