Antidepressant medicines, which are usually used to treat
depression, can be effective in preventing migraine
headaches. Antidepressants have some pain-relieving properties and may reduce
duration and frequency of headaches. Antidepressants are also used to improve
Tricyclic antidepressants are used most to prevent
migraines. Amitriptyline and nortriptyline are used most often.
Migraines are a type of headache that tend to cause more than just head pain. The symptoms often include nausea and vision problems.
A migraine headache can last for a few hours a day to several hours. But a migraine attack that lasts for more than 72 hours is called status migrainosus. This may require hospital treatment to relieve the pain and treat dehydration from vomiting.
A typical migraine can sometimes turn into status migrainosus if:
The migraine isn't treated early in the course...
Other antidepressants may be tried if you do not respond well
to amitriptyline or nortriptyline. The choice of antidepressant to treat your
migraines may depend on your ability to tolerate the side effects of the
Side effects of tricyclic antidepressants
Inability to urinate.
Low blood pressure when you stand up
Never suddenly stop taking antidepressants. The use of any
antidepressant should be tapered off slowly and only under the supervision of a
doctor. Abruptly stopping antidepressant medicine can cause negative side
effects or a relapse into a depressive episode or panic disorder.
FDA advisories. The U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) has issued:
A warning about taking triptans, used for headaches, with SSRIs
(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (selective
serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Taking these medicines together
can cause a very rare but serious condition called serotonin syndrome.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 17, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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