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Migraines & Headaches Health Center

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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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