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Antidepressants and Other Drugs to Prevent Headaches

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 NameBrand NameUsePossible Side Effects
AmytriptylineElavilPrevention of tension headachesFatigue, dry mouth, weight gain, constipation, drowsiness, and blurred vision. Older adults also may experience confusion or faintness.
DesipramineNorpraminPrevention of tension headachesDizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, increased appetite, nausea, tiredness, weakness, weight gain
DoxepinSinequanPrevention of tension headachesDizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, increased appetite, nausea, tiredness, weakness, weight loss
ImipramineTofranilPrevention of tension headachesDizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, weakness, weight gain
NortriptylinePamelorPrevention of tension headachesDizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, increased appetite, nausea, tiredness, weakness, weight gain
ProtriptylineVivactilPrevention of tension headachesDry mouth, weight gain, constipation

Other Antidepressants Used in Headache Prevention

ProzacPrevention of tension headachesNausea, dry mouth, increased appetite, agitation
SerzonePrevention of tension headachesBlurred vision, lightheadedness, clumsiness, ringing in the ears, skin rash, itching
PaxilPrevention of tension headachesFatigue, weight gain
ZoloftPrevention of tension headachesInsomnia, restlessness
EffexorPrevention of tension headachesVision changes, decrease in sexual desire or ability, headaches
CelexaPrevention of tension headaches 
LexaproPrevention of tension headaches 
Desyrel (trazodone)Prevention of tension headachesDizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, nausea and vomiting, unpleasant taste
WellbutrinPrevention of tension headachesAgitation, anxiety, buzzing or ringing in ears, skin rash, hives, itching
PhenelzinePrevention of tension headaches 

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on December 06, 2013
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