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    Antidepressants and Other Drugs to Prevent Headaches

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    In addition to the traditional headache medications, there are other drugs -- like antidepressants -- that may be prescribed to reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches.

    Generic Name Brand Name Use Possible Side Effects
    Amytriptyline Elavil Prevention of tension headaches Fatigue, dry mouth, weight gain, constipation, drowsiness, and blurred vision. Older adults also may experience confusion or faintness.
    Desipramine Norpramin Prevention of tension headaches Dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, increased appetite, nausea, tiredness, weakness, weight gain
    Doxepin Sinequan Prevention of tension headaches Dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, increased appetite, nausea, tiredness, weakness, weight loss
    Imipramine Tofranil Prevention of tension headaches Dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, weakness, weight gain
    Nortriptyline Pamelor Prevention of tension headaches Dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, increased appetite, nausea, tiredness, weakness, weight gain
    Protriptyline Vivactil Prevention of tension headaches Dry mouth, weight gain, constipation

    Other Antidepressants Used in Headache Prevention

    Fluoxetine (Prozac) Prevention of tension headaches Nausea, dry mouth, increased appetite, agitation
    Nefazodone (Serzone) Prevention of tension headaches Blurred vision, lightheadedness, clumsiness, ringing in the ears, skin rash, itching
    Paroxetine (Paxil) Prevention of tension headaches Fatigue, weight gain
    Sertraline (Zoloft) Prevention of tension headaches Insomnia, restlessness
    Venlafaxine (Effexor) Prevention of tension headaches Vision changes, decrease in sexual desire or ability, headaches
    Citalopram (Celexa) Prevention of tension headaches Drowsiness, nausea, insomnia, dry mouth, sweating
    Escitalopram (Lexapro) Prevention of tension headaches Ejaculatory disorder, insomnia, headache, drowsiness, diarrhea, nausea
    Trazodone (Desyrel ) Prevention of tension headaches Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, nausea and vomiting, unpleasant taste
    Bupropion (Wellbutrin) Prevention of tension headaches Agitation, anxiety, buzzing or ringing in ears, skin rash, hives, itching
    Phenelzine (Nardil) Prevention of tension headaches Chills, cold sweats, confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness when getting up, overactive reflexes

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on December 26, 2015
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