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Antianxiety Medicines for Tension Headaches - Topic Overview

If your tension headaches are triggered by anxiety, you may be treated with an antianxiety medicine, such as buspirone, to reduce anxiety and the frequency of tension headaches.

Antianxiety medicines relieve anxiety and nervousness and have a calming effect. In high doses, they may cause drowsiness and sleep. Buspirone reduces mild anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and pain. It is usually taken daily to relieve symptoms and is not addictive if it is used continuously.

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Understanding Headache -- Symptoms

If you feel a dull, steady pain that feels like a band tightening around your head, you may have a tension headache. If you feel throbbing that begins on one side and causes nausea or sound/light sensitivity, you may have a migraine. Visual disturbances, such as flickering points of light, may precede a migraine headache. If you feel a non-throbbing pain around one red, watery eye, with nasal congestion on that side of your face, you may have a cluster headache. If you feel a steady pain in the...

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Generally, side effects are mild and include:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • A general lack of interest in things (apathy).
  • Dizziness.
  • Forgetfulness.

Antianxiety medicines other than buspirone (such as alprazolam) may be tried, but they can become addictive. Buspirone is not habit-forming and may be used for longer periods of time.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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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