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Seizure Medicines for Tension Headaches

Seizure medicines are drugs that are used to treat seizures. Seizure medicines are also used to prevent migraine headaches. And they may be used to help prevent tension headaches in some people. There is not good evidence for their use in preventing tension headaches, but your doctor may think that one of these medicines will help you if you have chronic tension headaches:

Side effects of topiramate can include:

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There is no specific test to diagnose a migraine headache. If you seek help from your health care provider for recurring headaches, you may be asked to keep a headache diary in which you record information about symptoms leading up to a headache, symptoms of the actual headache, and possible triggers that may have provoked the episode. Your health care provider will want to take a careful history to determine any patterns to your headaches and to learn whether such headaches run in your family....

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  • Fatigue.
  • A prickling or tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Inability to concentrate or speak clearly.

Gabapentin is a well-tolerated drug that usually causes only mild side effects. These often go away within 1 to 2 weeks and include:

  • Dizziness.
  • Drowsiness and fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Weight gain.
  • Foot swelling.

Side effects of valproate can include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Tremor or shakiness.
  • Hair loss.
  • Weight gain.
  • Headache pain that is different than pain from a migraine headache.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on seizure medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people who take seizure medicine should be watched closely for warning signs of suicide. People who take seizure medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a doctor.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
Last Revised July 7, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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